Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale underwent successful Tommy Joh surgery today to repair his left elbow. There isn’t a set timetable on his return as of yet.
The moment that all of Red Sox Nation was waiting for has finally arrived. A little over a week after it was announced that Chris Sale would require Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, the lefty had the procedure. It was reported today that Boston’s ace had the surgery and things went well.
Alex Speier of the Boston Globe broke the news about the southpaw earlier today. I’ll admit I was a bit surprised to see the surgery being completed so soon especially with the coronavirus running rampant. Normally for a case like this you’d see an athlete head for the care of Dr. James Andrews, however, the longtime surgeon has postponed any unnecessary procedures until the COVID-19 crisis is under control.
Though Sale needed surgery in order to get back onto the field, it is still considered to be elective in the eyes of many. With hospitals around the country trying to contain and control the spread of the coronavirus, it’s understandable why they’d hesitate on a case like this. It also felt like it was something that had been coming for a long time in regards to Sale needing TJS.
The lefty has a violent and powerful motion that can also be described as a bit awkward for his body type. Due to that mix of factors, he tends to miss time during the season due to wear and tear on his elbow and shoulder. Unfortunately, if you pull enough blocks from the JENGA tower, it’ll eventually topple over.
Since Dr. Andrews was unable to perform to reparative surgery for Sale he sought out one of the other doctors that he consulted with prior to the diagnosis. The Condor put his arm in the care of Dr. Neal ElAttrache out of Los Angeles.
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom spoke about the surgery today and made it clear that the decision was made once they knew they wouldn’t be putting any more pressure on anyone involved.
"“It was important to all of us to do this in a way that would not place any undue burden on anyone suffering because of the coronavirus,” Chaim Bloom said."
Now that Sale has gotten his pesky left elbow repaired the clock will begin to tick on an eventual return. Considering we may not even have a season in 2020, this may be the most opportune time to have had the surgery. He was already going to miss the entire season as it was and very well may miss a majority of 2021, so now the pressure is fully off and he can focus on healing and rehab.
"“It obviously varies,” Bloom said. “I think generally, 12 months would be pretty aggressive. Usually, it takes longer than that. You have to make sure you’re doing the buildup properly. I think often, you see 14-15 months as that midrange. But everybody’s different.”"
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If there isn’t a 2020 campaign that will also do wonders for his mental health as he won’t have to even think about what he could be doing to help the team. No need to worry about win-loss records when there aren’t any games to be played. Granted, that’s if the season is called off. There’s still a chance that we could see a shortened year for 2020 within which Sale is a non-factor once again.
I do find it a bit curious that just a few short weeks ago the Red Sox were adamant that Sale wasn’t going to need Tommy John and that a couple of weeks of rest would do the trick. When that time passed and he still couldn’t throw it felt like the writing was on the wall. A few consultations and meetings with some of the world’s best sports surgeons would finally lead us to today.
Everyone heals and recovers differently and it’d be foolish to use a set timetable for a return. Bloom is right in that it would be ridiculously optimistic to see The Condor back on the bump in a year’s time. Hell, it may even be farfetched to see him pitching again by next year’s All-Star break. If we know anything about Sale though it’s that he’s an absolute maniac and will work his hardest to get back in Boston’s rotation as quickly as he can.
In the end, this is the right move not only for Chris Sale but for the Red Sox as well. With the ink of his extension still drying, they need him as healthy as he can be for the long haul. If getting TJS is the move that allows him to continue putting wins on the board for Boston, then so be it. Oh, not to forget, today is Sale’s 31st birthday! Happy Birthday and get well soon, ace!