By Byung-hyuk Chun = The Colorado Rockies recently announced that three of their top pitchers in the minor leagues will undergo elbow surgery at the same time.
Gabriel Hughes, Jordy Vargas, and Jackson Cox, who are rated as the team’s top prospects, announced that they will undergo elbow ligament reconstruction surgery (Tommy John surgery).
The four Colorado players, including starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela, who announced plans for elbow surgery earlier this month, will take the operating table one after the other under the care of Texas Rangers team physician Keith Meister.
“We’ve gotten so used to Tommy John surgeries,” the team said, according to ESPN.
While the elbow surgery is now commonplace in baseball and other sports such as American football and professional golf, it was once considered “God’s domain.
The surgery to cut out the damaged elbow ligament and reattach another part of the ligament was first successfully performed in 1974 by Dr. Frank Jobe on Tommy John, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Until then, a torn elbow ligament was a “death sentence” for a pitcher.
But after undergoing Jobe’s surgery, John returned in 1976 and played 13 more seasons until 1989, when he retired with a career record of 288 wins (231 losses).
John, who made his major league debut in 1963, had won 124 games in 12 seasons before the surgery, but afterward, he won 164 games in 13 years.
After Tommy John’s success, elbow ligament reconstruction surgery became more widely practiced.
Major League Baseball pitcher Justin Verlander (40-New York Mets) returned from elbow ligament ligation surgery and won the Cy Young Award at the age of 39, and “two-hitter” Shohei Ohtani (28-Los Angeles Angels) had Tommy John surgery shortly after entering the major leagues.
In the KBO, Jung Min-tae was the first player to undergo surgery in 1992 and had a successful comeback.
Of course, surgery is not 100% successful.
In particular, the rehabilitation process, which takes about a year, is quite difficult.
Ryu Hyun-jin (36-Toronto Blue Jays) underwent the surgery in 2004, when he was a sophomore at Dongsan High School in Incheon.
Unsure of his recovery at the time, the SK Wyverns (the predecessor to the SSG Landers) selected catcher Lee Jae-won instead of Ryu with the first overall pick in the 2006 season.
The Lotte Giants, who had the first pick in the second round, chose another pitcher, Na Seung-hyun, and Ryu was selected by the next-ranked team, the Hanwha Eagles.
As you may know, Ryu quickly became the first player in the KBO to win both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards, winning the pitching trifecta.
After compiling a 98-52 record and a 2.80 ERA in seven seasons in an Eagles uniform, he moved to the Major League Baseball team Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013.
Ryu won 14 games for the Dodgers in back-to-back years, establishing himself as a solid No. 2 starter.
But in 2015, in his third year, Tal got better.
He suffered a major injury, tearing the labrum in his left shoulder.
It was likely the result of throwing too much at a young age in the KBO, as he threw more than 200 innings for the second straight year upon joining Hanwha.
The Dodgers were already aware of Ryu’s shoulder issues when he signed with them.
Unlike elbow ligament reconstruction, shoulder surgery is a difficult procedure, with statistics showing a 7% chance of recovery.
After the surgery, Ryu pitched in one game in 2016, 25 games in 2017, and only 15 games in 2018 as he was again plagued by injuries.
However, Ryu made a full comeback in 2019.
He bounced back with 14 wins (5 losses) and a 2.32 ERA to lead the National League (NL).
After the season, Ryu became a free agent and signed a four-year, $80 million deal with Toronto.
But in 2022, his third year in Toronto, Ryu again dislocated his elbow and had to undergo a second Tommy John surgery.
His age, now in his mid-30s, made his comeback even more uncertain.
Nevertheless, after a successful rehabilitation in just over a year, Ryu has been receiving impressive reviews locally as he prepares to return to the big leagues.바카라사이트
At this point, it would be easy for him to hang up his cleats and retire, but it seems he had other ideas.
His contract with Toronto expires after this season, and it was recently reported that his “home team” Hanwha is interested in re-signing him.
It remains to be seen what Ryu will look like when he returns in early August, and what uniform he will wear after the season.
But whatever path the veteran, who has been on the operating table three times and endured a grueling rehabilitation, takes, it’s important to remember that the most important thing is an unbreakable heart.