‘Korean Monster’ Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto Blue Jays) is offering hope to ‘superstar’ Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels), who is considering a second elbow ligament reconstruction (Tommy John surgery).
U.S. media outlets have been reporting on Ohtani’s surgical prospects since he injured his right elbow last month, citing Ryu Hyun-jin as an example of a player who has regained his form after undergoing two elbow surgeries.
“A second Tommy John surgery can be more complicated and take longer to recover from than the first,” the Associated Press wrote in an analysis of Ohtani’s injury on Wednesday, quoting local medical experts as saying, “but the chances of a successful second surgery have risen from 50 percent in the past to 60 to 70 percent today.”
The outlet went on to list pitchers who have successfully returned to the field after undergoing two elbow ligament reconstruction surgeries in their careers.
“Nathan Eovaldi (Texas Rangers) and Jamison Taion (Chicago Cubs) are the most notable,” AP said, noting that Hyun-jin Ryu also returned last month.
Ivaldi underwent elbow ligament splicing surgery as a high school freshman, and then underwent the same procedure again in 2016.
He went under the knife three more times, including in 2019 to remove the vitreous in his elbow.
This season, he is 11-3 with a 2.69 ERA.
Taion also had elbow surgery in 2019 and 2020, but went 8-6 with a 4.30 ERA in 2021 and 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA in 2022.
Ryu Hyun-jin is another example of a successful comeback from two elbow ligament splicing surgeries.
He underwent the first in 2004, when he was a sophomore at Dongsan High School, and the second Tommy John surgery on June 19, 2022.
Ryu returned to Major League Baseball (MLB) a year and two months after his surgery, and he is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in six games this season.
However, local media outlets suggest that Ryu and Ohtani’s stories may be different.
“Ryu returned to the field just 13 and a half months after his surgery, but his first surgery was 19 years ago,” FanGraphs, a website specializing in MLB history, said in an analysis on Jan. 1.
The theory is that the aftermath of the second surgery was less severe because of the long time since his first Tommy John surgery.
Ohtani underwent ligament splicing surgery on his right elbow in October 2018 and returned to pitching in July 2020.
He was told he needed surgery after injuring his elbow last month, and if he goes under the knife after this season, it will be his first Tommy John surgery in five years.
There have been more unsuccessful comebacks than successful ones after two elbow ligament splicing surgeries.
“In 2014, a total of 11 pitchers underwent a second Tommy John surgery in their careers,” FanGraphs reported, “four of whom never returned to the big leagues, three of whom have lingered in obscurity, and only four of whom have returned to the big leagues after a long absence.”
After 2015, the picture is somewhat better. By 2020, a total of 18 players had received their second Tommy John surgeries, with 13 returning to the big leagues.
However, FanGraphs notes that “the 11 pitchers in 2014 had a relatively short time between surgeries, averaging 4.5 years, while the group that had surgery after 2015 had an average of 5.9 years between surgeries.” 토토사이트