Volquez has 'TJ' surgery
Reds starting pitcher Edinson Volquez had “Tommy John” surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament and torn flexor mass in his right elbow. Reds medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek performed the 90-minute procedure on Monday morning
That means Volquez could miss up to 12 months, which wouldn’t have him pitching again until late into the 2010 season.
On Friday, Volquez had to shut down a simulated game 20 pitches into what was to be an 80-pitch session when he complained of tightness in his elbow. He had previously thrown four bullpen sessions without incident.
Obviously, this puts a huge dent in the Reds’ plans for their rotation in 2010.
Last season, the 26-year-old Volquez threw a career high 196 innings for Cincinnati. He also pitched in one start and one relief appearance in Dominican winter ball last winter and three innings in one start for the D.R. in the World Baseball Classic.
Volquez’s previous professional high in inning was 178 2/3 innings in 2007 with the Rangers organization.
UPDATE: Reds manager Dusty Baker wasn’t prepared to assign blame that Volquez’s winter activity and the WBC contributed to his injury.
“Any time you do an unnatural act like throwing overhand, you risk something every time you pick up the ball,” Baker said. “I don’t know if anybody knows to say that exactly. The timing wasn’t real good to be thought of as part of the equation.”
It was learned that Volquez didn’t follow his off-season throwing program, as assigned by pitching coach Dick Pole. The team was told to limit Volquez to 50 pitches. He threw 99.
“They were playing [Johnny] Cueto’s team. That’s how I found out about it,” Pole said. “I know the guy that was taking care of Cueto and that he would do what I asked him to do.”
“It’s a lot of throwing. That Baseball Classic, there weren’t too many guys that repeated from the first time they did it and went back and pitched the second time. They knew the rigors of getting ready for that thing early.”
The two MRIs that Volquez since going on DL did not reveal the tears.
Kremchek didn’t make the decision to do the Tommy John surgery over the less invasive arthroscopic procedure until he could take a look inside the elbow. The situation was about as serious as these types of injuries can be.
“Not only was the flexor mass torn like we thought, there was also a tear in the ligament,” head trainer Mark Mann said. “It was almost completely torn.”
That means it was about as serious as these types of injuries can become.
“He will come back, I think, and pitch at some point next year in the second half,” Mann said. “But it will most likely be 2011 before you see the old Edinson Volquez.”