Baltimore’s Matt Wieters became the first position player to prematurely end his 2014 season in need of Tommy John surgery. He joins 22 major-league pitchers downed by elbow injuries requiring ulnar collateral ligament transplants.
Wieters hit five home runs and batted .308 through 26 games this season. Despite sitting on the disabled list, the Oriole enjoys a 400,000 vote lead on Yankee Brian McCann on American League All-Star balloting for catchers.
The 23 Tommy John surgeries from 2014 stand one behind the total from last season and on pace to shatter the record of 46 from the 2012 season.
“If you do a study, the whole thing about Tommy John surgery and the injury itself–it’s an overuse injury,” Tommy John told Breitbart Sports last month. The former Dodger returned to the mound in 1976 after Dr. Frank Jobe performed an experimental surgery to repair an elbow John injured late in the 1974 season. The procedure proved so successful that John tied a record in longevity by pitching until 1989.
“Parents get bilked by these guys who run these pitching academies and workout facilities,” John observed of rising elbow injuries. “I think you’ll find kids in one league in baseball while they’re young, and then they’re playing in two because they want to get exposed. All of this is getting thrust upon young arms that are not strong enough to withstand the rigors of throwing a baseball.”