by Alex Poletti
Photo by Kathy Willens/Associated Press
With the Major League Baseball season on hiatus until further notice, managers are trying to make the best of the situation by telling their top pitchers to get Tommy John surgery now, while they likely won’t miss any playing time.
“I know a lot of you guys are healthy enough for the season,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says, “but if you ever did need to get that arm worked on, now’s the time to do it. Even if you don’t really feel like it, you might as well get it done anyway.”
The strategy has caught on after top pitchers Chris Sale and Noah Syndergaard of the Red Sox and Mets, respectively, were shut down for the season with Tommy John. Now, with the season likely getting shorter with every passing day, the decisions seem prescient.
“Oh yeah, we totally knew that was going to happen,” Red Sox manager and baseball’s resident fish out of water Ron Roenicke says. “We looked at all the stats and made the call, hedging our bets that the season would get delayed. We definitely didn’t look at Chris’s arm and say, ‘Well that’s fucked,’ and shut him down.”
The move is not only endorsed by managers, but by players as well. Some flamethrowers who have already undergone the procedure claim that recovery gives them a sense of purpose in quarantine.
“It’s nice to have something to look after,” Syndergaard, whose UCL was so destroyed that doctors permitted his surgery that it constituted an essential procedure, says. “It was either do physical therapy for eight hours every day or adopt a Chia Pet or some shit.”
Thanks to current circumstances, the once “last-resort” surgery has turned into the offseason move of choice for many young pitchers who sold their arm ligaments to the devil for a few extra MPH on their fastball. And because of their trailblazing efforts, the Red Sox and Mets are getting lauded for the first time this offseason.
“After our managerial SNAFU, I didn’t think we’d be the gold standard for anything,” Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen says. “But it’s nice to know that the New York Mets will always be number one when it comes to ruining the arms of promising young pitchers.”