Reliever Cory Gearrin got three opinions on his right elbow and all three agreed he had an ulnar collateral ligament tear that would require season-ending Tommy John operation, the Braves reliever said Tuesday. So he’s got some peace of mind, anyway, as he faces a year out of action.
Gearrin said he hasn’t finalized arrangements for the operation yet. He’ll become the third Brave pitcher to undergo the surgery in the past two months for the Braves, who also lost Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to their second Tommy John operations.
Watching Medlen and Beachy face this process for a second time influenced Gearrin’s decision to be diligent in his research.
Gearrin went to see renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. and Mets orthopedist Dr. David Altcheck in New York last week after getting his initial diagnosis from Braves’ lead orthopedist Dr. Xavier Duralde.
“It has to be part of it - the environment you’re in impacts your decisions,” Gearrin said. “The other side is I’m just a pretty analytical guy. I really want to cover my bases. I looked into studies. I contacted as many people as I could to really get an understanding of the different procedures, techniques that guys use, and what it actually means so that I can feel as informed and as good as possible about my decision.”
Gearrin wasn’t one of those pitchers who had elbow soreness leading up to the tear. He threw a pitch to the Tigers’ Torii Hunter in a spring training game on March 25 that didn’t feel right and walked off the field.
The sidearmer said he has never had any elbow problems in the past, which is part of why he was puzzled.
Gearrin missed the second half of last season with shoulder problems but came into camp in great shape and poised to be a regular part of the Braves bullpen.
“That’s the longest I’d gone without throwing - the second half of last season - and I really worked hard to give myself a good opportunity to pick up right where I left off,” Gearrin said. “I felt like I did that in camp and for it to happen there at the end of spring training like that was frustrating….But it happens sometimes. I’m definitely going to stay positive through this, and I’m going to look at it as, I put in a lot of work this offseason I’m just going to carry that over into the next year and give myself a chance to make big improvements and come back better than ever ready to help the team.”