The Philadelphia Phillies have a pitcher named Adam Eaton who had a terrible year last year. His record was an average enough 10-10 but his ERA was a league-worst 6.29. Part of his troubles were linked to back problems he has suffered.
This spring was going to be the time for the pitcher to redeem himself, but so far, so not good: he is 0-2 in two starts, with an eye-opening 15.75 ERA.
Note that the Phillies signed Eaton before the 2007 season to a three-year, $24.5 million contract.
Eaton now says he has a back injury again, or maybe it never really went away. He has been X-rayed and examined two times recently; those examinations, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer, "have shown nothing specifically wrong with his back."
And yet he is in significant pain. His conclusion: "There's got to be something there for it to feel like this."
Most definitely there is something there. I might suggest he stop looking for it in an x-ray or an MRI, however. I of course can't possibly know the situation from just reading a newspaper article, but it sure sounds like a good old case of TMS to me.
Look: he didn't do anything specifically to his back this spring, he's just feeling a lot of pain. Examinations are revealing no structural issues.
But stress? Eaton must have it coming out the wazoo. The man is earning millions of dollars a year, but gets the stuffing knocked out of him just about every time he pitches. That's got to mess with his emotional state; all the more so because, as a professional athlete, he is not encouraged to examine his emotional state in any way, shape, or form.
I feel badly for him, and wish him access to the wisdom, ultimately, that will lead to a cure. But in the meantime, I wish him off the mound! (So, okay, I'm a Phillies fan.)