St. Louis Cardinals: Tommy John is no stranger to the Cardinals

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 1: Reliever Trevor Rosenthal
ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 1: Reliever Trevor Rosenthal /

The St. Louis Cardinals learned Trevor Rosenthal needs Tommy John surgery to repair his right elbow. It’s the fifth player in the last three years to undergo the procedure.

Another year, another St. Louis Cardinals‘ pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery. As news of Trevor Rosenthal‘s fate broke across Twitter, I couldn’t help but wonder to myself, “Again?” I shouldn’t be surprised I guess, considering the speculation surrounding Rosenthal to begin with, but I have never seen a surgery ravage a team quite like the Cardinals.

While writing my Rosenthal piece yesterday, covering the news of his surgery, I came across a tweet by @CardinalsRant_ depicting all the St. Louis Cardinals who have undergone the surgery in recent years. While the tweet doesn’t name all the players, it nevertheless paints a painful truth: Tommy John hates the Cardinals. Okay, maybe not hate, but it is no friend to the team, that’s for sure.

A total of SIX players in the last THREE years will have or had the surgery. Here is the list of players:

Lance Lynn

Seth Maness

Marco Gonzales

Zach Duke

Alex Reyes

Trevor Rosenthal

"Lance Lynn – Tommy John (2015)Zach Duke – Tommy John (2016)Alex Reyes – Tommy John (2017)Now, Rosenthal needs TJ.That’s a problem— Cardinals Rant (@CardinalsRant_) August 23, 2017Lance Lynn – Tommy John (2015)Zach Duke – Tommy John (2016)Alex Reyes – Tommy John (2017)Now, Rosenthal needs TJ.That’s a problem— Cardinals Rant (@CardinalsRant_) August 23, 2017"

I should be a little more realistic because the rate of Tommy John happening across baseball, whether it be in high school or MLB, is increasing. According to PitchSmart, part of, since 2010, MLB has seen more than thirty pitcher per year undergo the surgery. A 2012-2013 survey found that twenty-five percent of Major League pitchers have had the procedure done to them.

I encourage anyone to take a look at PitchSmart’s page. They have some great information on Tommy John.

More from Redbird Rants

The amount of Tommy John surgeries for the Cardinals is undoubtedly alarming. However, is there a place we can put the blame? It’s not that simple.

For those who say no, they more or likely line up with the thought that injuries just happen. Look what happened toBryce Harper. The simple fact is some injuries just happen.

As much as I want to believe that, some injuries, like Tommy John, also can be somewhat prevented. According to the PitchSmart, the number one factor in arm injuries is usage or over usage.

Given the names above, you have to wonder what exactly the usage looks like. Seth Maness was a go to guy frequently with the St. Louis Cardinals. Trevor Rosenthal was a go to guy over the last couple of seasons. There definitely is some correlation to usage and TJ, but there are other factors as well.

Hard throwers are also suspect to the surgery after a while. It’s no surprise names like Reyes and Rosenthal are on the list. Heck, even Lance Lynn would be considered in this list because of the use of his fastball all the time. Other names to think about are Stephen Strasburg and the late Jose Fernandez.

So who takes blame for the usage? It’s easy to say the manager, but I’m not buying it. It’s the same excuse some people will use for when players are not hitting well. Why isn’t the hitting coach doing anything?” Personally there is a 50/50 blame when it comes to these scenarios.

Managers need to take care of their pitchers arms. Perhaps that’s why the St. Louis Cardinals have been so adamant about carrying eight bullpen arms. They look to give players rest when they need to. As a player, you also have to know your body. If there was any indication of something not being right, then you should be speaking up.

I don’t want to point the blame in any direction, but there certainly questions that should be asked. One question that comes to mind for me, in regards to Rosenthal, is “Was there any indication of an injury earlier this year?” The St. Louis Cardinals were very careful to give Rosenthal rest at the beginning of the year.

Part of that may be due to it being so early in the year and you don’t want to overdo it right away. However, I find it hard to believe Rosenthal’s injury just magically showed up. I am f the mindset the elbow irritation was there earlier and rest was recommended to see if it would heal on its own. We see how that’s played out.

Next: Rosenthal to have Tommy John

Sadly, I think the Cardinals will suffer another blow soon. The use of a certain player in the bullpen has all the signs of another potential surgery down the road. This would be the time for John Mozeliak and Mike Girsch to pick up the phone to reinforce the bullpen.