What does the alarming Tommy John surgery rate mean for the Pittsburgh Pirates?
Spring training is less than two weeks away for the Pittsburgh Pirates, which means reports will soon start pouring in of players suffering season-ending injuries and surgeries, specifically Tommy John surgery.
According to a database maintained by Jon Roegele, there have been 1,169 such surgeries since its namesake first went under the knife of Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974.
If it seemed like the Pirates were plagued by the surgery bug in 2015, that’s because they were.
In the Jim Benedict era, the former assistant to the general manager, critical to pitcher development in the organization, the Pirates had 33 players from the Dominican Summer League up through the majors lose time to Tommy John surgery just since 2009.
From 1974 to 2008, they had just 15. In fact, no team has had more since 2009.
What can the team do to stop this disturbing trend?