Recently, the Colorado Rockies of the US professional baseball announced that three new pitchers playing in the minor leagues would undergo elbow surgery at once.
It was revealed that Gabriel Hughes, Jordi Vargas, and Jackson Cox, who are regarded as the top prospects in the team, are scheduled to undergo elbow ligament replacement surgery (Tommy John surgery) side by side.
Four Colorado players, including starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela, who announced plans for elbow surgery earlier this month, are scheduled to go to the operating table one after another under the guidance of Texas Rangers club doctor Keith Meister.
ESPN, a sports media, reported on the situation of Colorado’s team, saying, “I’m too used to Tommy John surgery.”
Today, elbow surgery is commonly performed not only in baseball, but also in other sports such as American football and professional golf, but in the past, it was actually a ‘territory of God’.
Surgery to cut a damaged elbow ligament and attach another ligament was first successful in 1974 by Dr. Frank Jobe against former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy John.
Previously, elbow ligament rupture was tantamount to a ‘death sentence’ for pitchers.
However, John, who underwent Jove’s surgery, returned in 1976 and played 13 more seasons until 1989, winning a total of 288 wins (231 losses) before retiring.
John, who made his major league debut in 1963, recorded 124 wins in 12 seasons before surgery, but after the surgery, he accumulated more wins with 164 wins in 13 years.
After the success of Tommy John, elbow ligament replacement surgery began to be widely performed.
Pitcher Justin Verlander (40, New York Mets), who represents the major leagues, returned from elbow ligament surgery and received the Cy Young Award at the age of 39, and Shohei Ohtani (28, Los Angeles Angels), who is also a pitcher, also won the Tommy Award right after advancing to the major leagues. After John’s surgery, he was able to recover successfully.
In the KBO League, it became known in 1992 when Jung Min-tae underwent surgery for the first time and succeeded in recovering.
Of course, surgery is not 100% successful.
In particular, it is said that the rehabilitation process that takes about a year is quite difficult.
Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays), who advanced to the major leagues after playing in the KBO league, underwent this surgery in 2004 when he was a sophomore at Dongsan High School in Incheon.
SK Wyverns (predecessor of SSG Landers), which was not sure whether it was cured at the time, nominated catcher Lee Jae-won instead of Ryu Hyun-jin in the first nomination for the 2006 season.
The Lotte Giants, who had the right to rank first in the second nomination, also chose another pitcher, Na Seung-hyun, and Ryu Hyun-jin was selected by the next ranked team, the Hanwha Eagles.
As you know, Ryu Hyun-jin won three pitching crowns as soon as he joined, becoming the first player in the KBO League to receive both the Rookie of the Year and MVP at the same time.
In 2013, he moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a major league team, after posting a 98-52 record and a 2.80 earned run average over seven seasons in the Eagles uniform.
Ryu Hyun-jin won 14 wins for two consecutive years with the Dodgers, establishing himself as the clear second starter.
However, the third year, 2015, is better.
His left shoulder joint and labrum were severely injured.
As soon as he joined Hanwha, he threw more than 200 innings for two consecutive years.
It is said that the Dodgers team was already aware of Ryu Hyun-jin’s shoulder problem at the time of his contract.
Unlike his elbow ligament splicing surgery, shoulder surgery was such a difficult surgery that there was a statistic that the chance of recovery was only 7%.
Ryu Hyun-jin, who pitched in one game in 2016 after surgery, played 25 games in 2017 and suffered from various injuries again in 2018 and only pitched in 15 games.
However, Ryu Hyun-jin succeeded in making a complete comeback in 2019.
He again won 14 wins (5 losses) and vomited his spirit to rise to the top of the National League (NL) with an earned run average of 2.32.
After the season, Ryu Hyun-jin, who obtained the qualification as a free agent (FA), transferred to Toronto for 4 years and 80 million dollars.
However, in the 2022 season, the third year in Toronto, Ryu Hyun-jin suffered a dislocated elbow again and had to undergo a second Tommy John surgery.메이저놀이터
With his age in his mid-thirties, whether or not he would make a comeback was even more uncertain.
Nevertheless, Ryu Hyun-jin has successfully completed rehabilitation after a year or so and is receiving impressive evaluations even in the field ahead of his return to the big leagues.
Now, it would not be strange to put everything down and retire, but Ryu Hyun-jin seems to have a completely different idea.
Ryu Hyun-jin, whose contract with Toronto ends at the end of this season, is also heard that he is willing to re-enter Hanwha, his ‘parent team’.
It is still unknown what Ryu Hyun-jin will look like in the return match scheduled for early August and what uniform he will wear after the season.
However, no matter what path Ryu Hyun-jin, a veteran who has overcome all the difficult rehabilitation on the operating table three times, is also ‘the important thing is an unbreakable heart (no break)’.