St. Louis Cardinals hurler Lance Lynn underwent successful Tommy John Surgery on November 10th of last year. He’s scheduled to start a throwing program some time in April.
The first indications of trouble coming for Lance Lynn were the two starts missed and two-week DL stint that he went on last June. St. Louis Cardinals GM John Mozeliak and Lynn both agreed that Lynn probably could have pitched through the pain he was experiencing in his forearm, but decided that rest was appropriate at that time in the season.
According to Lynn, it was commonplace to wake up in the morning with complete numbness in his right hand. But, with Adam Wainwright already out for the year (sort of), Lynn never gave any thought to undergoing surgery last summer.
He knew that the club needed him, and even if he couldn’t throw anything but fastballs, he was going to do what he needed for the club.
“I felt like I could do it, so I did it. I don’t regret it by any means,” said Lynn in an interview with StlToday’s Rick Hummel this February.
Lynn noted that undergoing reconstructive surgery last summer likely would have cost him the 2016 campaign anyhow. He did say that he felt fortunate that continuing to pitch did not cause further damage, and he is content with his 2015 performance, considering the circumstances.
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“If I had gone on the DL and eventually had surgery last year, I would have missed all this year anyway… I didn’t hurt anything else, which was good. I was able to turn a pretty decent season out of it… double-figure wins, 3.03 ERA, I don’t regret it at all.”
Assuming Lynn doesn’t experience any setbacks this spring, he is expected to start a throwing program in April, with the hope of getting back onto a mound as early as June.
Would it be realistic to even think that we could see Lynn in October baseball, kind of like his buddy Waino last year?
As much of a long shot as Waino’s return seemed, Lynn’s would be much, much more.
According to American Spots Medicine Institute research director Glenn Fleisig, most guys make it back to pro ball at 12 months after Tommy John. But, he noted, that most don’t get back to where they previously were until 18 months of time.
To pitch in October would require Lynn to make it back in less than 11 months, and that would put him at a high-level of risk to compromise the reconstructed elbow once again.
Lynn agrees that it would be foolish to entertain any thoughts of a 2016 return, saying that his focus is on being 100% to start the 2017 season.
“It definitely puts your mind at ease, knowing that I can do everything I can without trying to rush a 12-month thing and get hurt again,” Lynn said. “That way, I’ll have almost 18 months until Opening Day, 2017. That’s a perfect time frame for when I’ll be 100 percent, ready to go.”
Lynn will be 29 when he returns in 2017 and will be pitching in the final year of the three-year, $22 million deal he signed ahead of 2015.
The Cardinals will rely on newcomer Mike Leake to eat innings in Lynn’s absence, and there’s always the possibility that the club could go after a frontline starting pitcher at the trade deadline.