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According to Joe Christensen, Pat Neshek has experienced a setback in his rehab down in Ft. Myers. He apparently felt some discomfort in his elbow while pitching. He traveled to the Twin Cities for an MRI and to have it looked at by Dr. Dan Buss who I believe is a Twins doctor.
All I know is that if I am Pat Neshek, I am going to get several second opinions. There is no way that I would trust the Twins doctors, not with elbow problems. He was diagnosed with an “acute partial tear” in his UCL. Acute equals not good. “Partial” still means torn. Maybe not completely torn through the ligament, but PARTIALLY!
When we last talked to Pat Neshek in a SethSpeaks.net Weekly Twins podcast a couple of weeks ago, I wondered aloud if he had experienced any scares, setbacks or any pain in his rehab. He insisted that he hadn’t. He was yet to throw off a mound, which he was soon to do. He also said that he had not thrown his slider, or any pitch with spin. Those would be the biggest tests on his elbow. He was throwing nearly at 100% and feeling good.
Again, he is just going to have an MRI and have it looked at. Hopefully this will just be a scare and there is no tear in his elbow ligament. Hopefully this is just a natural recovery feeling. I have my doubts, and after immobilizing the elbow and slowly rehabbing it back to strength, Tommy John surgery is again an option, or at least has to be mentioned.
In a previous podcast, Neshek told us that they knew that if he needed to have Tommy John surgery, they needed to do it by November so that he would miss all of the 2009 season and come back by Spring Training 2010. That would allow for about 16 months after surgery to get ready.
But back to the Twins doctors for a minute. After Francisco Liriano was injured in 2006, they had him skip a start and then he made another start. Then he was out for over a month, but they decided to bring him back. Then he got hurt again. But they waited until November for him to have the Tommy John surgery. Why? How does that make any sense? In fact, we have seen this pattern a lot in recent years. A player is injured. He is brought back fairly quickly. He is soon hurt again, and this time he is out even longer. Shannon Stewart’s name comes to mind. The Twins have just racked up the injuries in recent years, and I don’t understand why. I know that the Twins used to be known for their lack of injuries, at least major injuries. But when Trainer Dick Martin left (fired?), everything changed. I would be curious in finding out the stats on that. Going back over the last 15 years, how many players went in the Disabled List each year? Over the same period, how many combined days were spent on the Disabled List. I have a sneaky suspicion (with admittedly no hard facts to support it) that starting with the year that Martin left, there would be a spike.
Is there some correlation, or is it just dumb luck? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do feel that the question needs to be asked?
The Twins seem to be against surgery in most any situation. I understand that in theory. I really do. Many believe that once a surgery has occurred, the area will never go back to 100% Sometimes it is best not to have surgery. But sometimes, it is so obvious what needs to be done. If the Twins would have had Neshek have Tommy John surgery in May, he maybe could have been back after the All-Star break next year, at best. In reality, they should have just had him have surgery and then tell him to rehab for 2010.
Unfortunately, the injury problem extended to the Twins minor leagues. Look at the Beloit Snappers. They had 13 people on the Disabled List late in the season. Some are just dumb luck. When Loek Van Mil was sent home from the Beijing Olympics in August with elbow pain, he was told he had the same injury that Neshek had. The Twins immediately started him on the same rehabilitation plan If I’m in the Van Mil family, I’m considering getting a second opinion as well. At the very least, I would be keeping tabs on the Neshek situation.
Big picture – We don’t know anything. Maybe we will find out that this is nothing. But obviously Pat Neshek is a great guy (and a great pitcher), and we at SethSpeaks.net hope for nothing but the best for him. Whether that is surgery or more rehab, we wish Pat Neshek nothing but the best!!