Monday, April 21, 2014

Tommy John Surgery Running Rampant In MLB

By my unofficial count a whopping twenty pitchers have had Tommy John surgery since the beginning of the 2014 season, an absolute staggering number when you think about it. If every team, in a perfect world, used 12 pitchers a season multiplied by 30 Major League teams that is 360 pitchers. If 20 of those 360 pitchers have had the surgery then that is an alarming almost 6% of pitchers getting the surgery, and it's only getting worse.

The ulnar collateral ligament is no thicker than an aspirin tablet wide and apparently very fragile. The UCL absorbs the force of the pitchers throwing 90+ MPH day in and day out and begins to fray and break down over time until it pops, the same pop Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova said he felt in what is probably his final pitch of the season.

When you think about it if 20 pitchers have already went down this season already, just three weeks in, how many more million dollar arms are throwing with partially torn UCL's and don't know it yet? It's hard to fathom all these surgeries when pitchers are so closely watched and managed from how many pitches they can throw, how often they throw, etc. While the technology and the knowledge in the game and with the surgery grows it seems like things are only getting worse when they should be getting better and nobody has an explanation as to why.

Ivan Nova seems like he will be the 21st pitcher to go under the knife this season and we're not even a month in. I think it's time for Major League Baseball to worry less about what guys like Alex Rodriguez is doing and more about protecting their players, but maybe it's me.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)