Named “Best Sports News Article: 2014-2015” by Manhattan College’s “The Quadrangle”
The need for a pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery (TJS) — repairment of the ulnar collateral ligament — is an epidemic.
Between ’05 and ’11, the average number of TJS cases in Major League Baseball per year was 16. That number skyrocketed from ’12 to ’14, increasing to 28 per year. In ’14 alone, there were more TJS conducted than in the entire ’90s: 80, according to ESPN’s Sport Science.
TJS has an 80-percent success rate, which is high but still leaves pitchers with a one in five chance of failure, according to USA TODAY Sports.
“It’s not so much the MLB organizations but the pitchers, even going back to youth baseball, which is problematic,” Andy Martino, “New York Daily News” baseball insider, said. “A lot of times pitchers are drafted already well along the way in having this kind of damage because of overuse. … There are all kinds of debate. Nobody knows the answer. Teams are trying all sorts of different things and there’s no evidence that anything is really helping or hurting. It’s just hard to figure out.”