Tommy John surgeries have become alarmingly common in today’s baseball climate, but the most disturbing trend is the age at which the bulk of these procedures are performed. Craig Davis of the Sun Sentinel sheds some spotlight on a recent study showing that teens between the ages of 15 and 19 account for 75% of all Tommy John surgeries. Davis cites the words of Dr. Tommy John (son of the former major league pitcher and the procedure’s namesake), who bluntly says, “The success rate after Tommy John surgery is not good. You don’t want this surgery, especially if you have it in your teenage years.” One possible reason for the dramatic increase in youth Tommy John surgeries is single-sport specialization; Dr. Randolph Cohen of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood seems to believe it’s a big issue. “There’s an overall kind of irrational push by parents on children who are playing sports for such long hours and such long durations and such great repetition that we’re seeing an increase in the injuries in children than say we saw 20 years ago, where injuries like that were much more rare,” he said.
A few injury-related notes from around major-league baseball…
- Though injured Yankees star Gary Sanchez hasn’t begun running drills yet, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that his recovery is going well. The Bombers are apparently hopeful he’ll be able to return around the All-Star break. Though he’s currently batting below the Mendoza line, the young Sanchez leads all MLB catchers with 14 homers to this point in the season.
- The Red Sox are set to add a valuable reliever even before the July 31st trade deadline hits, as Chris Cotillo of masslive.com reports that Tyler Thornburg is expected to return to the club this week. The 29-year-old right-hander has yet to pitch in a game for the Red Sox since being acquired from the Brewers in exchange for Travis Shaw and a pair of minor-leaguers. There wouldn’t appear to be a great chance of salvaging the trade at this point, but if Thornburg can return to post something close to the 2.15 ERA and 12.06 K/9 he posted with Milwaukee back in 2016, he could be of great help to an already-strong bridge to Craig Kimbrel.
- The Giants got some good news today, as it appears Pablo Sandoval has avoided any serious injury. Panda’s x-rays showed no fractures (according to a tweet from Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic), so his diagnosis is simply an elbow contusion after being hit by a Zack Godley pitch during today’s matchup against the Diamondbacks.