It wasn’t supposed to be like this. This was supposed to be different.
The Phillies have recommended Andrew Painter have Tommy John surgery, the team said in a statement.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) July 19, 2023
Yes, the Phillies recommend for Andrew Painter to have Tommy John Surgery.
Back in March, Painter pitched just one game in Spring Training before being shut down from throwing after a UCL sprain.
The first reaction then was panic, with the potential that he could need something as serious as TJ in the near future. However, Jeff Passan tweeted about the specific UCL sprain that Painter had.
Important follow-up here: The fact that Andrew Painter's UCL tear is proximal -- or on the side that attaches to the medial epicondyle -- could really matter a lot. In a study on UCL management, 17 of the 19 pitchers with proximal tears avoided surgery: https://t.co/zmn6lXkV2X— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 10, 2023
It seemed like they would avoid disaster from the start. After a shutdown, Painter went through a slow throwing program but when it finally came to facing live hitters, he felt pain again.
After an examination, the Phillies made public that Andrew Painter’s elbow was actually healing and that he wasn’t going to require surgery.
How we got from there to here is unclear and there is no room for speculation but the reality is we are here.
Tommy John surgery is always the last resort and while it’s better than it used to be, we still have stories of pitchers coming back and not being the same. Painter is only 20 however so it’s impossible to make any sort of conclusion on what this would mean for the rest of his career.
Painter is scheduled for a “surgical consultation” with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the same doctor who performed Bryce Harper’s surgery, on July 24.