Pitcher Will Kline, who missed the last two seasons due to a torn labrum, won't pitch this year after an MRI revealed a slightly torn rotator cuff.
The tear was small enough that Kline hopes to avoid surgery. Dr. James Andrews gave Kline a plasma rich protein injection this week in Birmingham. Kline won't pick up a ball for another four or five months, he said. Surgery would likely have cost him a full year.
"It's better than surgery, obviously," Kline said. "Now, I have to give the shoulder time to heal."
Kline was enthusiastic this spring over potentially returning this year. But he started having problems in May, he said. He rested his shoulder and tried to start a throwing program three times -- "all pretty unsuccessful" -- before having an MRI.
The right-hander was a second-round draft pick out of Ole Miss in 2007. He had enough promise that he made his pro debut at low-Class A Columbus. Kline made nine starts and, now 25, is still waiting for a 10th.
"(My career) hasn't been great up to this point," Kline said. "At some point, I think I'll be able to look back on it and think it's a blessing, though I can't right now."
Kline, after making the trip to Birmingham, is spending a few days at home in Mississippi before returning to Tampa Bay's rehab program. He said he's trying to keep a positive outlook -- and has been successful so far.
"I could sit around with my head down all the time or I can sit up and smile," Kline said. "I can only have a good attitude."