Chris Sale 2020 - TJ Bound and Down

NomarsFool

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Is pitching so unlike other sports so that pitchers really do nothing but rest in the offseason? I know pitching is an incredible strain on your arm, and very different from playing basketball or whatever. But, it is still shocking to me that someone would show up in Spring training and really not be able to throw without pain. Did he not throw a ball or do anything at all like pitching all Winter?

I know it's not the same thing, but it would be incredibly absurd for Jason Tatum to show up to Celtics training camp and say "Gee, I can't shoot a basketball it hurts so much". My natural thought would be that in the offseason, Sale would be doing some type of workouts that would utilize the same muscles as the pitching motion. Do they not do that?
 

RedOctober3829

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Is pitching so unlike other sports so that pitchers really do nothing but rest in the offseason? I know pitching is an incredible strain on your arm, and very different from playing basketball or whatever. But, it is still shocking to me that someone would show up in Spring training and really not be able to throw without pain. Did he not throw a ball or do anything at all like pitching all Winter?

I know it's not the same thing, but it would be incredibly absurd for Jason Tatum to show up to Celtics training camp and say "Gee, I can't shoot a basketball it hurts so much". My natural thought would be that in the offseason, Sale would be doing some type of workouts that would utilize the same muscles as the pitching motion. Do they not do that?
A lot of off season training for pitchers is conditioning, weight training, flexibility type stuff with some throwing, long toss, and small bullpen sessions. You never truly let it go full throttle until ST however when facing live hitters.
 

radsoxfan

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This might be a question for @radsoxfan , but how often does the dye contrast option get done to prove conclusively, either way, the severity of this kind of injury? Is it a special request that has to be made?
In competitive pitchers we do it pretty often. The orthopedist has to make a separate request, but it's simple to do. For most run-of-the-mill elbow pain MR cases we don't do an injection.

Some of the data suggests UCL tear sensitivity % gets bumped up from low 90s to high 90s by doing the injection. A lot of variables affect that for any individual case including the image itself (scanner quality, coil quality, technique) and the interpreter (fellowship trained radiologist, experienced sports elbow ortho doc), so I wouldn't say those numbers are set in stone.

Overall, the MLB guys should probably get it, especially if they are on the fence about something. I'd be surprised if Sale didn't.
 

NomarsFool

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I can't remember the details, but didn't Sale have a bullpen session or BP or something where he was throwing and the pitching coach said that Sale was doing great and had no issues at all? Was that complete propaganda or something? I'm just having a hard time going from "Sale looks great" to "Sale is going to try and pitch the first part of the season and then maybe out for 18 months if it doesn't work out".
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I can't remember the details, but didn't Sale have a bullpen session or BP or something where he was throwing and the pitching coach said that Sale was doing great and had no issues at all? Was that complete propaganda or something? I'm just having a hard time going from "Sale looks great" to "Sale is going to try and pitch the first part of the season and then maybe out for 18 months if it doesn't work out".
You don't think it's possible to feel/look great in one outing (whether it's a game-situation, a bullpen, long toss, or whatever), then have something go wrong in the next?
 

YTF

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I can't remember the details, but didn't Sale have a bullpen session or BP or something where he was throwing and the pitching coach said that Sale was doing great and had no issues at all? Was that complete propaganda or something? I'm just having a hard time going from "Sale looks great" to "Sale is going to try and pitch the first part of the season and then maybe out for 18 months if it doesn't work out".
It's always hard to tell. What did the session consist of? How long did it last? Any restrictions as to how hard the pitcher threw? Things could go well and soreness sets in the following day or perhaps the pitcher keeps a little pain to himself initially.
 

Melrose Diner

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I’m pretty sure Sale would pitch right handed in Jim Abbott style if he was given the chance to not have to sit out, so I can’t fathom being upset at him for any of this. That ire should go towards the old front office for the contract and, information we don’t know notwithstanding, maybe part of the medical staff/process
 

NomarsFool

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You don't think it's possible to feel/look great in one outing (whether it's a game-situation, a bullpen, long toss, or whatever), then have something go wrong in the next?
If by something goes wrong, some sort of injury - slipping off the mound, etc. Then, yes. But, I do find it odd that one is doing the same motion from one day to the next and all of a sudden it hurts so bad that they would look into surgery.
 

SoxInTheMist

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If by something goes wrong, some sort of injury - slipping off the mound, etc. Then, yes. But, I do find it odd that one is doing the same motion from one day to the next and all of a sudden it hurts so bad that they would look into surgery.
It's also fairly likely that he felt great/fine during and right after the session but then was sore the next day. Happens to pitchers all the time.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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If by something goes wrong, some sort of injury - slipping off the mound, etc. Then, yes. But, I do find it odd that one is doing the same motion from one day to the next and all of a sudden it hurts so bad that they would look into surgery.
Isn't what you describe as odd exactly what an injury is? Everyone feels good until they get hurt, and injuries don't only come from doing something out of the ordinary or noticeably different than usual. Repetitive use injuries are a thing.
 

joe dokes

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If by something goes wrong, some sort of injury - slipping off the mound, etc. Then, yes. But, I do find it odd that one is doing the same motion from one day to the next and all of a sudden it hurts so bad that they would look into surgery.
I'm not so sure about that. For as long as I've been paying attention to sports, "he had a good workout today, we'll see how he feels tomorrow and go from there" has been the response of coaches describing their injured players' workouts.
 

The Gray Eagle

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A well-known expert weighs in on Sale's arm in the Athletic:


Dr. Christoper Geary is an orthopedic surgeon at Tufts Medical Center. And while he’s never examined or evaluated Sale, he specializes in shoulder and elbow surgeries. He offered some insight into the many questions surrounding Sale’s status.

I wonder if he got paid $10 for this interview? :fonz:

One question and the response:

So is it safe to say this flexor strain and the elbow in general, even if he doesn’t need Tommy John surgery, is something he’ll have to manage over the remainder of his career?

More likely than not. Then it’s the question of how frequent are they, to what level are they? Is it, oh I just need more treatment in between starts because my elbow kind of hurts? Or is it the kind of thing where he’s being put on the (injured list) every two months because his elbow flares up? Eventually you’re going to say, “All right, what are we doing here? If we can’t count on you, maybe do have the surgery.” That’s the kind of thing that’s very player-dependent. Some guys are very averse, understandably, to undergoing surgery, especially something that major.
Read the whole thing though.
 

Bosox4416

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Isn't The Athletic behind a paywall?

:clicks link:

Yup.
“The concern with him, his UCL, I’m sure it’s not perfect. The question is, is this just part of an inevitable cascade? Like he has a flexor strain, eventually he’s going to completely blow out his UCL and need surgery? But it’s the kind of thing where they’ve had the MRIs, they’ve had people look at them, it’s probably a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and the flexor muscle got irritated. They probably had a previous MRI of his elbow and the ligament probably looks very similar. It’s not perfect, but it’s not at the stage yet where it needs an operation. But could this become a reoccurring thing? It’s certainly a higher risk than if the ligament was perfect.

The Red Sox said in the MRI of Sale’s elbow from November compared to the one taken in early March, the UCL is the same. So the flexor strain could be a result of the UCL having a small tear? A flexor strain doesn’t happen on its own without something occurring in the ligament?
It absolutely could. But certainly having an issue with the ligament makes you more prone to that.”
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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“The concern with him, his UCL, I’m sure it’s not perfect. The question is, is this just part of an inevitable cascade? Like he has a flexor strain, eventually he’s going to completely blow out his UCL and need surgery? But it’s the kind of thing where they’ve had the MRIs, they’ve had people look at them, it’s probably a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and the flexor muscle got irritated. They probably had a previous MRI of his elbow and the ligament probably looks very similar. It’s not perfect, but it’s not at the stage yet where it needs an operation. But could this become a reoccurring thing? It’s certainly a higher risk than if the ligament was perfect.

The Red Sox said in the MRI of Sale’s elbow from November compared to the one taken in early March, the UCL is the same. So the flexor strain could be a result of the UCL having a small tear? A flexor strain doesn’t happen on its own without something occurring in the ligament?
It absolutely could. But certainly having an issue with the ligament makes you more prone to that.”
Thank you.

The news just keeps getting better and better all around.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Not the right forum - but the Athletic has been worth every penny I've paid (there are almost always deals available too) for baseball content alone plus any other sports stuff.
Well, given that I (like the rest of the country) may have a whole bunch of time on my hands soon, I might look into that. Thanks!
 

curly2

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If surgery is likely inevitable, shouldn't he have it now? If there is a 2020 season, it is likely to be severely shortened. Right now the earliest is late May, but that seems really optimistic. I think there's a decent chance it's not until sometime in the summer, like the country celebrates the end of the pandemic with opening day on the Fourth of July.

No matter when they open, if you're going to miss a season, 2020 is the one to miss.
 

InsideTheParker

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If surgery is likely inevitable, shouldn't he have it now? If there is a 2020 season, it is likely to be severely shortened. Right now the earliest is late May, but that seems really optimistic. I think there's a decent chance it's not until sometime in the summer, like the country celebrates the end of the pandemic with opening day on the Fourth of July.

No matter when they open, if you're going to miss a season, 2020 is the one to miss.
This might be seen as the sort of elective surgery that is being cancelled all over now. They have to clear the hospitals, staff, and equipment for urgent cases.
 

Salem's Lot

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If surgery is likely inevitable, shouldn't he have it now? If there is a 2020 season, it is likely to be severely shortened. Right now the earliest is late May, but that seems really optimistic. I think there's a decent chance it's not until sometime in the summer, like the country celebrates the end of the pandemic with opening day on the Fourth of July.

No matter when they open, if you're going to miss a season, 2020 is the one to miss.
For the same reason that he didn’t have surgery in August, he doesn’t want to get cut unless it is 100% the only option. And I don’t blame him, and couldn’t care less about the team’s timeline if it were me, it’s my elbow.
 

lexrageorge

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Chris Sale may not want to be anywhere near a hospital right now. And I couldn't blame him one bit for that decision.
 

Plympton91

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Easy enough to avoid hand contact with the face during the throwing, then thoroughly washing hands or even taking a full on shower after the session is over.
Or, you know, if neither of them is currently sick or immunocompromised or living with a grandparent, the risk is vanishingly small and they should just play catch without worrying about it.
 

mauf

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Or, you know, if neither of them is currently sick or immunocompromised or living with a grandparent, the risk is vanishingly small and they should just play catch without worrying about it.
There's also the matter of the people we unavoidably come into contact with when carrying out essential activities, such as grocery shopping.

That said, I'm not going to judge Sale (or any other pro athlete). Most of us are letting down our guard with a small core of people, on the assumption that if one of us gets it, we all will. For most of us, that core is our nuclear family, but for a professional athlete trying to stay in peak condition, there might be a few others in that core group.
 

sodenj5

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Seems like this was inevitable. Better to address it now. 2020 is at best a truncated season and the Sox are clearly not going to be a title contender this year.

Get it done now and maybe he’s back by the All Star Break in 2021.
 

BornToRun

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Well shit. Anyone smarter than me have a rough estimate when we’ll see him in 2021?
 

NDame616

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If baseball loses a season, are all contracts pushed back a year? Or is everyone still paid like the season happened?
 

simplicio

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Also good to get it done now before every hospital is completely overwhelmed for who knows how long with covid cases.
 

yecul

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The human element makes sense for him to wait until the last option to proceed. Unfortunately the human element doesn't align with the cold efficiency of most ideal timetable. Here's to a swift recovery and making his way back strong for 2021 sometime.
 

DeadlySplitter

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if he gets shut down ONE DAY into a throwing program, shouldn't the recommendation been TJ all along?

not trying to play doctor and there's a huge silver lining COVID will mitigate the missed time on the field, but he could have been ready for Opening Day 2021 instead of TBD 2021. oh well, let's get through COVID and worry about timelines later
 

amRadio

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It is really hard not to feel like this should have happened sooner. I hope this doesn't cost him much of 2021.
 

Salem's Lot

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It is really hard not to feel like this should have happened sooner. I hope this doesn't cost him much of 2021.
The problem is you can’t force a guy to have surgery if he doesn’t want to, and the doctors don’t say that it’s 100% necessary to do it so that you can threaten to void the contract.
 

Ale Xander

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I wouldn't be too sad if 2020 MLB is canceled. (I DO want to see playoffs for NBA and NHL though)