The Dodgers are having Tommy John and the man who performed his famous surgery, Dr. Frank Jobe, throwing out the first pitches prior to Saturday’s game, and Jobe said something very interesting in talking with the media: “If I was smart enough to do this 10 years before, it might be called the Koufax surgery.”
No longer able to deal with his elbow pain, Koufax retired after going 27-9 with a 1.73 ERA and 317 strikeouts in 323 innings in 1966. He was just 30 at the time.
Jobe said Koufax had “essentially the same thing” as Tommy John, who underwent his revolutionary procedure in 1974. At the time, Jobe thought he had very little chance of returning to the majors, but John went on to pitched 14 more seasons and win 164 games.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.