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Detroit Tigers pitcher Casey Mize, formerly a top prospect and No. 1 overall pick, will undergo Tommy John surgery.
Three weeks ago, A.J. Hinch tried to call a fanbase that was rightly reeling, seeing nearly its entire starting pitching staff go down with injuries. At that point, Mize himself had suffered a setback during a rehab start, and was sent back down to Lakeland. Hinch refused to refer to it in certain terms, but did acknowledge it was not ideal.
“We’re going to slow him down a little bit,” Hinch said. “We’re treating the symptoms. He still doesn’t quite feel like he can let go full throttle in bullpens or competition, so we need to dial it back a little bit.”
On Friday, the Tigers announced Mize will undergo Tommy John surgery, essentially the worst possible outcome for a pitcher of his caliber. Mize will miss much of the next full calendar year, if not more.
Casey Mize injury update: Tommy John surgery is next
Tommy John surgery is actually quite simple in modern medicine terms. Per the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, “UCL reconstruction is a surgery commonly used to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament inside the elbow by replacing it with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. The goal of the surgery is to stabilize the elbow, reduce or eliminate pain and restore stability and range of motion.”
For pitchers, however, it can represent something different entirely. Pitchers not only need to go through the normal rehab process that goes along with Tommy John, they also have to be able to put excessive force on that elbow after the fact. Some pitchers come back better than ever, while others are never the same.
Mize is thankfully young enough that he should be able to make a full recovery. He remains an integral part of the Tigers future.