Three Reds' Pitchers Told To Rest

Monday, February 19th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Three Cincinnati Reds pitchers have muscular weakness in their shoulders and upper backs and have been told not to throw for at least another week.

Right-handers Elmer Dessens, Seth Etherton and Leo Estrella have begun an exercise program that requires as much as five hours a day to complete. The workouts include plyometric exercises, which help build power and coordination.

Dessens, Etherton and Estrella will be tested in another eight to 10 days and can begin throwing if they've improved enough physically.

The setbacks aren't serious for now, but they could complicate the Reds' pitching plans if they continue. Dessens was 11-5 last year with Cincinnati, and Etherton was 5-1 for Anaheim. They are two of the leading candidates for the starting rotation. Etherton, who finished last season on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis, also is trying to improve his flexibility.

Estrella threw two no-hitters in the minors last year and immediately became one of the organization's top prospects when the Reds obtained him Nov. 22 from Toronto in the Steve Parris trade.

The isokinetic test that revealed the pitchers' physical problems was the same one that exposed Denny Neagle's and Pete Harnisch's shoulder trouble in recent years.

Right-hander Larry Luebbers also has been told not to throw while he waits for a sore tendon in his right wrist to improve. Luebbers sustained a similar injury after pitching six innings at Detroit July 17. He didn't pitch again until July 30 and made his final 13 appearances in relief.

Luebbers could be pitching later this week.