This is not going to turn into some massive entry about people who make the mistake of throwing too many sliders. This is also not going to turn into some massive entry about people who make the mistake of becoming pitchers. Although if you are thinking about playing baseball, do not pitch! It will hurt you!
Rather, this post is about a very simple point. In the middle of June, Brett Anderson had elbow problems, and he went to visit with Dr. Andrews. Dr. Andrews is usually a complete asshole about these things, but Anderson managed to come away with good news:
Brett Anderson will not have Tommy John surgery, after seeing Dr. James Andrews. Six weeks of rehab recommended; another eval in 3 weeks.
Rehab instead of surgery! All right, that's terrific! Unfortunately, this morning:
LHP [Brett Anderson] underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow Thursday morning in Florida.
Weeks after being told he wouldn't need Tommy John surgery at that time, Brett Anderson had Tommy John surgery, and now he's unlikely to pitch in the Majors before September 2012, if not April 2013.
When a pitcher goes to one of the usual guys for a consult, and receives a recommendation that he rehab rather than have surgery, that does not mean that he won't need surgery. That doesn't mean he's out of the woods. All it means is that he doesn't have a complete tear of something, and the doctor would prefer he go the less drastic course before opting for the more drastic course. It's good news, but it's not fantastic news.
Whenever a guy receives this recommendation, it always comes with a scheduled evaluation or two down the road. This is so the doctor can check on the injury's progress. If the injury shows to be healing well on its own, then that's legitimately great news, but this doesn't always happen, and then surgery is back on the table. This is what we've seen with Anderson. Because the rehab didn't work, the rehab itself was more of a delay than anything else.
Keep this in mind the next time a guy visits with one of the dreaded names and comes away without a fresh incision. Avoiding surgery at the first visit is encouraging, but that's only the first step on a long path towards staying away from the creepy anesthesiologist.