When Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Nick Lodolo thought he had finally figured out why his leg had been hurting sporadically since spring training, he learned the injury was deeper than he realized.
Lodolo went on the 10-day injured list last week with left calf tendinosis, and he’ll be out at least a month. But during a follow-up doctor’s visit, Lodolo saw that it wasn’t just his calf that was injured. An MRI determined that he also had a stress reaction in his left tibia.
What he thought was a minor injury that he could pitch through, turned out to be something more significant for Lodolo.
“I thought it was nothing, just soreness,” Lodolo said. “It kept lingering and lingering. We thought it was getting better, but it wasn’t getting better. I had good days and bad days. Then I started realizing it started altering my mechanics. It was throwing stuff off.”
Last week in Miami, he was scratched on Friday night for Saturday’s start against the Marlins. He returned to Cincinnati, and Lodolo was back in the clubhouse on Saturday with his left foot in a walking boot and using a scooter to get around the clubhouse.
Lodolo said his calf feels better than it has in a while. Now, most of the pain is around his ankle and his shin. He will have a follow-up MRI at the end of May that will determine how long he’ll be on the injured list.
“It’s weird,” Lodolo said. “There’s no incident that happened. Over time, it came up and never went away. Finally, we got it scanned and you could see it.”
Lodolo said he started feeling pain in his left leg during spring training. At the time, there were good days and bad days. He posted a 2.12 ERA through his first three starts of the season, looking better than he did at any point during his rookie year.
Then over Lodolo’s next four starts, Lodolo had a 10.38 ERA. He wasn’t getting the same extension off the mound that he usually creates. When he watched video of himself pitching, Lodolo saw that his mechanics were changing.
As pain in his calf flared up more consistently, the flat-footed Lodolo tried using orthotics in his shoes to create more of an arch. The goal was for the arch in his foot to take pressure off of Lodolo’s calf, but that plan ended up aggravating Lodolo’s leg even more.
As a result, Lodolo was scratched from his start in Miami and he went on the injured list.
“The orthotics were aggressive in the arch because that’s where I need to get to,” Lodolo said. “It aggravated it more by pushing into it. We thought it was just the tendon, but with the stress reaction in the bone, I’m assuming that aggravated that part too which is why I felt it even more.”
Lodolo plans to stay off of his left leg at least until the MRI at the end of May. He’s doing light exercises to strengthen his calf and his ankle, but he still has a big recovery process ahead of him.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to get out of this boot after the MRI and start getting back at it,” Lodolo said. “I don’t know how long the build-up will be. Hopefully at the end of the month, I’ll get back to playing catch on my feet.”
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Nick Lodolo details his calf and tibia injuries