Unless you have been living under a rock this spring training, you should have noticed a deeply upsetting trend occurring among young pitchers. This issue is causing serious problems for ball clubs and players, and is disappointing fans everywhere. If you know the names Patrick Corbin (D-Backs), Kris Medlen (Braves), Jarrod Parker (Athletics), or Brandon Beachy (Braves), then you know what I am talking about:
The dreaded elbow injury.
These four guys are all facing the daunting idea of Tommy John surgery, and for Kris Medlen, it would be his second. It is something that no one wants to have to deal with, especially considering the recovery time is about 12 months. There is no denying it: these injuries are increasing and that is a problem.
Just think about some of the names of guys who have had to have this surgery: Steven Strausberg, Matt Harvey, etc. These guys were both in their early twenties. It’s kinda odd, right? That’s why I was so disheartened to hear about Patrick Corbin. He is just 24 and was slated to have another great year. Even if he doesn’t get surgery, he is probably going to be out for six to eight weeks, minimum.
It must be really scary, right? It’s kinda scary for me and I am just a fan! Watching these pitchers going down (these last four in the same week!) is really concerning. We try really hard to prevent these kind of injuries by limiting pitch counts, innings, etc, but it’s not enough. Pitching is unnatural and the arms are trying hard to tell us that.
Losing Medlen and Beachy forced the Braves to pick up free agent Santana. Aside from losing the power-hitting Paul Goldschmidt, losing Corbin is the most devastating thing that could happen to the Diamondbacks. A rotation that was shaky last year relied heavily on their young ace, who delivered and then some. He was an All-Star. He nearly broke the club record for most wins and no losses. For now, the D-Backs are going to have to figure out what to do until he is healthy again. My guess is that they are going to take a chance on Archie Bradley and put Randall Delgado in the bullpen for long relief, but I could be totally wrong. This is a mess, but fortunately, there will be plenty of time to figure it out on the flight to Australia.
All of these players are outstanding guys who do not deserve to deal with this kind stuff. Injury in any sport is inevitable, but it is a bit alarming how many pitchers are coming out of the game due to elbow injuries.
This was a good article by Ken Rosenthal, if you want some more detailed info: