The other day, David Aardsma was diagnosed with a grade 2 sprain of the UCL in his right elbow, and he made an appointment with Dr. Yocum in Los Angeles to get a second opinion. It was expected that, after the appointment, Aardsma, Yocum and the Mariners' team doctor would decide between surgery and going the rest-and-rehabilitation route instead.
Now, as initially reported by Shannon Drayer and confirmed by Aardsma himself, we hear he's going with the latter. Aardsma's going to spend the next month working to strengthen his elbow, at which point he'll be re-evaluated, with the hope being that he'll be good to resume throwing.
It isn't an altogether surprising decision. Have you ever had surgery? I mean real surgery, where they knock you out and everything? They drug you to sleep and then cut you open with knives! It's horrible! I don't know why anybody would ever want to have surgery, or want somebody else to have surgery. That's just not for me. No, sir.
What this doesn't mean is that Aardsma absolutely won't need ligament replacement surgery. What this does mean is that he's not going to have it right now, and may not need it later on if the rehab plan works out. If he hasn't made progress by next month, he might still undergo the procedure, but since surgery would've completely wiped out the rest of the 2011 season, and since he doesn't have a complete UCL tear, it's worth trying the less invasive approach and hoping it works out. It has worked out before. Otherwise it wouldn't be an option.
I don't know if Aardsma's going to pitch for the Mariners this year. But because of this report, I do know that there's still a chance. Fairly good news, where it could've been pretty bad news.