His career went into a tailspin back in 2008 when he lost his command and went from being a dominant pitcher to the guy who has a funny wind up. But Dontrelle Willis is trying to get his career back on track with the Chicago Cubs, however that comeback took a major step back when Willis managed to only fire off seven pitches before he was forced to leave the Cubs Spring Training game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Willis walked the lead-off hitter and then delivered just one pitch to Brian Barden before waving over the medical staff who determined Willis was suffering from shoulder tightness.
“It’s a mild setback, I guess. Hopefully it’s nothing serious and I don’t miss a lot of time,” said Willis said after the Cubs 7-6 loss. “It’s probably just fatigue. Hopefully just a couple of days and I’ll get back on it. I’m going to go back to the yard and let them give me some TLC.”
The Cubs medical staff will re-evaluate Willis’ shoulder and determine whether or not it was indeed shoulder tightness or if it was something else. Willis was originally drafted by the Cubs out of high school back in 2000. He was traded to the then-Florida Marlins and burst onto the scene in 2003 with a Rookie of the Year award.
Since then Willis’ career has been up and down, with the lefty showing real signs of greatness followed by absolute pits of pitching darkness. Injuries have plagued him his entire career and because he has never been able to consistently stay healthy or confident, Willis has suffered a dramatic downfall.
Willis is hoping that he can rebound with the Cubs as his best year since the mid-2000s was in 2011 when he finished the season with a 1-6 record and a 5.00 ERA.
“It’s frustrating,” Willis said of his latest injury. “I worked real hard to get back and was finally getting improvement, and then this happens. But I’ll overcome it. I’ve done it before.”