July 16: Jose Bautista fouls off a ball in the eighth inning of a game against the Yankees and immediately grabs his left wrist in pain. The Jays announced after the game that no break was found, that he had an injury to a tendon and that he’d undergo an MRI the following day.
July 17: Bautista is placed on the DL after the MRI revealed wrist inflammation, according to the Jays. Bautista, for his part, called the injury a strain.
“Just as I was finishing my swing I felt something weird around my wrist, and on the recoil is when I felt sharp pain,” said Bautista, who had started all 90 games this season before Tuesday night. “So obviously a little scary at the time. You can’t help but think the worst.
“I thought I had torn something or maybe broken my wrist, but that’s not the case and I’m happy to know that.”
July 28: Bautista resumes swinging bat 12 days after getting hurt. The Jays were initially optimistic that he’d be able to return when eligible on Aug. 1, but they admit now that won’t be ready.
“I don’t want to ever say no, but it still projects to be a few more days than Wednesday,” manager John Farrell said. “But [on Friday], I said it would be Monday by the time he started to swing — and here he is already off a tee. But he is making good progress.”
Aug. 2: Bautista says he’s still experiencing wrist discomfort.
“I’m still ahead of the suggested game plan, according to the hand specialist,” Bautista said. “Their recommendations were initially to not even attempt to pick up a bat for two weeks, and I’m at 16 days and I’m swinging in a cage with some liberty and somewhat of a free feel to my swing.”
Aug. 7: Bautista undergoes followup MRI, leading to a very skeptical blog entry from yours truly.
“He’s still complaining of some soreness in one small area, there’s a recommendation of a follow-up MRI just to compare it to the original MRI,” Farrell told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. “We’ll have further information once the MRI is complete.”
Aug. 9: The second MRI reportedly reveals no additional damage.
“They didn’t have to do it,” Bautista said. “It’s just more the doctor trying to be cautious before I get the bat back in my hands. What he was thinking was the same thing that came back. It’s just still inflammation, not further damage, so it hasn’t got any worse.
“It’s getting better, but slowly. I would hope that it would be healing quicker, but it’s not. We’re going to just give it a couple more days, then start hitting Monday.”
Aug. 13: Bautista starts swinging again.
“We’re going to go at the pace his tolerance allows,” Farrell said.
Aug. 23: Bautista hits two homers in rehab game.
Aug. 24: Bautista comes off disabled list, goes 0-for-4 in Jays loss.
Aug. 25: Bautista aggravates wrist injury versus Orioles.
Aug. 26: Bautista returns to disabled list.
Aug. 28: The Jays announce that Bautista will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the tendon sheath in his left wrist. He’ll need up to six months to recover.
“We followed the course of action that was recommended at each time during the recovery after the original injury,” Bautista said. “The only way I could have played again this year without having surgery was to do what we did. I tried, there’s just too much instability in that tendon. It got to the point where risking injuring to the tendon was not worth it. That’s why we’re opting to do it now, that way I have plenty of time to be ready for spring training and the season.”
The Jays never, to my knowledge anyway, straight out lied at any point when discussing Bautista’s injury, but they definitely downplayed the severity of it right from the start. That said, I’m not sure they did anything in how they brought Bautista back. Obviously, if Bautista was told two weeks to swing a bat, he shouldn’t have been back doing it after 12 days. That probably didn’t make a big difference, though.
In the end, this probably worked out for the best. The Jays weren’t going anywhere with all of their injuries this year, and it wouldn’t have done any good for Bautista to try to gut it out over the rest of the season. As long as the main problem here is truly the tendon’s stability in the sheath, it’s nothing that should affect Bautista in 2013 and beyond. Nomar Garciaparra had damage in the same area a decade ago, but his injury was a much more significant split tendon. David Ortiz had a tear in his tendon sheath four years ago and came out of it fine.