October 25, 2011

Lackey Will Miss 2012 Season After TJ Surgery

John Lackey will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, according to Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, and will miss the entire 2012 season.

Cherington said that Lackey had "some intermittent elbow soreness throughout the season". Back in late June, Peter Gammons mentioned the possibility of Lackey needing TJ surgery, but at the time both Lackey and the Red Sox denied it.

Dr. Lewis Yocum, who operated on Daisuke Matsuzaka earlier this year, will do the surgery.


laura k said...

Hurrah. 2012 is looking brighter already.

Joel said...

I'd missed the fact that Peter Gammons had made this remark earlier in the season. That being said, I still have a few questions about all of this. Sigh. It's so hard not to be cynical right now.

allan said...

My little wine guy is very happy at not having to sit through "Lack"'s fits and tantrums next summer.

Tom DePlonty said...

I suppose it would be gratuitous and cruel to ask about the mortality rate for Tommy John surgery.

laura k said...

That being said, I wish people wouldn't pimp their blogs here.

hrstrat57 said...

Great vid insert - classic!!

allan said...

I wish Joel had written out his thoughts rather than couching them in "Isn't it odd that ..." questions?

I don't know the extent of Lackey's injuries

This admission would go a long way to answer your questions (or rendering them irrelevant).

Isn't it quite a lucky coincidence that the Red Sox have a Tommy John clause in Lackey's contract?

No. They saw his medical records before signing the contract, noticed the wear and tear that all pitchers have (maybe Lackey had more damage; he admitted as much this year), and negotiated a clause.

Isn't it convenient that Lackey will be taking a year off, right at the time when he is quite possibly the least popular Red Sox player of all time?

No. He is unpopular because of his shitty season. And he had a shitty season in large part because his elbow was falling apart. Many fans want players to "man up" and play through pain for the good of the team. Well, with the staff crumbling, Lackey did exactly that. He was not very successful, but he gave the team innings and to my knowledge never begged out of a start.

Isn't it odd that Francona never mentioned that Lackey was having elbow problems, even though he discussed Matsuzaka's elbow problems time and time again?

No. If asked, they would have said something. I do not recall much talk about Yook's injuries or Buchholz's injuries - or the foot surgery Pedroia is having this winter. Is that bizarre? And since Lackey admitted he had shit going on in his elbow, I am almost certain Tito mentioned it at some point as well.

Isn't it easy to be cynical when the Red Sox PR machine has a long history of manipulating the media?

It is always easy to be cynical. The hard part is resisting the urge.

And re the Red Sox PR machine: all 29 other baseball teams tell the media the unvarnished truth 100% of the time.

allan said...

Yeah, love the gif, especially the slow clapper in the stands. He's allowed 8 runs and is pissed that Tito is coming to yank him.

allan said...

Lackey, in June 2011:

"I have damage in there already ... [E]very pitcher will find something. Some of us just got a little more than others. You don't want it to get too much worse than it already is. But the MRI was pretty close to what it was when I got here. ... It's going to get worse eventually. It's probably going to be something I have to stay on top of."

Joel said...


Thanks for the quote from Lackey. Certainly, the first part of what he said was totally right - all pitchers will have something show up on the MRI - and that alone is not a reason for majorly disruptive surgery.

Lackey in June said that the damage was pretty close to the same as when he arrived in Boston. So, if we take him at his word, it must have gotten a lot worse from June to September. And yet his velocity kept getting better during that time?

Maybe he was just manning up, as you say.

Regardless, I'll also be happy at not having to watch him next year.


tim said...

Hurrah. 2012 is looking brighter already.


wardo said...

Maybe the doctors will remove his head from his ass while they're working on the elbow?

allan said...

Abraham seems to have some doubts about the surgery. I don't fully understand this. Maybe someone who has listened to some sports radio can explain.

Does he mean Lackey is actually not getting the surgery, but simply hiding for a year (and resting his wing)? Does he mean Lackey is having actual surgery even thought he does not need it, in large part so he can hide for a year?

Maybe he does. Maybe Nick Cafardo does, too. According to one SoSH, in the post-press conference coverage Cafardo called Lackey's TJ surgery "elective" and said his elbow is the same as when the Sox signed him. The procedure is more for "mental reasons than physical".

Tom DePlonty said...

I don't understand it either. Abraham seems to start one place and end up someplace different in that article.

I've read that it's something of a judgement call as to when UCL damage is severe enough to require surgery. Maybe Lackey is borderline, and has been for a while. And some combination of his performance last year, and the fact that it would be convenient for all parties for him to be away for a year, led them to decide to go ahead with it.