Saturday, September 10, 2011

Are we expecting too much for Johan in '12'

Photo by Michael Baron
As I've said before, the surgery Johan Santana is attempting to comeback from is rare in sports medicine and therefore, there isn't much to base how he will progress or his chances for a full recovery as the ace he once was.

But I just finished reading an article on Chien Ming Wang, it took the former back-to-back 19 game winner two years to comeback from the same surgery as Johan and he may struggle to find a contract next season. Wang has made 8 starts this season to a 4.43 ERA and averaged 5.2 innings per start, but is still struggling to warm up.

Wang’s biggest issue in his return, then, has not been what happens at the end of starts. It’s what happens at the beginning. He cannot warm up as easily as he once did, and it has led to slow starts.source Washington Post

Another pitcher to have the surgery was Mark Prior, he has also missed the last two seasons as he attempts to recover.  Prior has only pitched 24 innings (12innings TX / 12innings NYY) in the minors since being cleared to pitch again at the end of last season.  For Prior he hadn't been in the majors since 2006 and had shoulder surgery in 2008.  Chris O'Leary believes Prior's mechanics are the cause of all his injuries.

Mark Prior's pitching mechanics were never as good as people thought they were, and that Mark Prior's pitching mechanics are largely responsible for his injury problems. source

So should we expect Johan back in 2012 or is all this discussion about the return of the ace zealous optimism.   It is a small sample pool and different pitchers have different repertoires/deliveries which place different degrees of stress on their shoulder, but it would seem that the recover time is two years...