- The widely accepted presumption among baseball people is that those who have Tommy John surgery need 18 months after the operation to return to normal. That after 18 months is when the pitcher is more apt to look like the pre-surgery version of himself.
Since I have yet to have Tommy John surgery, I asked Texas Rangers’ left handed starter Martin Perez if that theory is true.
Perez, who had that season-killing surgery in May of 2014, qualifies as an expert in the field now.
He is not buying the theory. Of course, he may be lying to himself and anybody listening.
“(Rangers pitcher) Colby Lewis told me a week ago that, ‘In about a month you are going to feel so much better,’” Perez said.
Lewis had this surgery more than 10 years ago. When Perez told him he feels good, and the same as last year pre-surgery, Lewis said, “Wow – that doesn’t happen.”
“I told him I feel great now,” Perez said. “The key for me was rehab.”
A lot of guys who have this surgery say this after the initially return - I feel great! How Perez pitches over the next two months of the season will ultimately be the more accurate barometer if he indeed feels as good as he says. The Rangers are operating like he will be himself next year rather than this year.
At that time he needed the surgery last season, he was one of the Rangers better pitchers and one of the more promising young lefties in the American League. Last season, he was 4-3 with a 4.38 ERA in eight starts.
In his first two starts since he returned to the big boy team, he is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA. His longest outing is six innings. He does not look like the same guy from last year yet.
“(My first start) I was over-throwing and trying to strike everybody out. It was emotion,” he said. “That’s not my game. I just can’t throw too quick. Just think before I pitch and take my time. The second start was a lot better.”
Since the Rangers were not and are not expecting much from Perez this season, whatever he does is a gift. Perez is back but the Rangers are functioning like he will be the same as nearly every other TJ surgery case – it will be 18 months before Martin Perez is back.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760