David Robertson
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David Robertson to miss 2020 season

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Jake Arrieta isn’t the only pitcher expected to miss serious time this year. According to multiple reports, closer David Robertson underwent Tommy John surgery on Thursday, effectively putting him on the shelf through the 2020 season.

Robertson, 34, developed a Grade 1 flexor strain in his right elbow back in April, and has been laid up ever since. There was some speculation that he might be able to begin a throwing program in mid-May, but he was shut down shortly after playing catch and did not make any significant progress in the months that followed. He underwent both Tommy John surgery and a procedure to repair the flexor tendon on Thursday and will require 14-16 months of recovery.

Prior to his injured list assignment, the veteran closer struggled through just seven appearances in the majors, issuing four runs, six walks, and six strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings. It’ll be some time before he can work back up to the totals he produced with the Yankees in 2018, during which he recorded five saves with a 3.23 ERA, 3.4 BB/9, 11.8 SO/9, and 1.5 fWAR through 69 2/3 innings.

The harrowing tale of the end of Bobby Jenks’ baseball career

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Bobby Jenks was a key part of the 2005 world champion White Sox. By 2010, his effectiveness as a closer fell off and he signed with the Boston Red Sox for the 2011 season. He’d pitch in only 19 games that year, suffer a back injury and would never pitch again.

In the year or so after that, we heard that Jenks was arrested for driving under the influence. And then we heard that his back surgery was botched, and his baseball career was over. Then, after years of silence, we learned last spring that Jenks won $5.1 million in a medical malpractice suit against the doctor who performed his surgery.

We did not, however, know all the details until Bobby Jenks wrote about them at the Players’ Tribune this morning. This is must-click link stuff, folks.

Jenks talks about how a seemingly innocuous pitch to Jorge Posada in an early-season Red Sox-Yankees game in 2011 was the last pitch he’d ever throw. He talks about the presumably simple surgery that would supposedly get him back on the field. And then the scary complications in which he almost died due to leaking spinal fluid resulting from the botched surgery. Then, after using painkillers to deal with back pain, Jenks’ fell into drug addiction, all of which culminated in him finding himself half-naked and crazed in a car that didn’t belong to him with police and rescue workers surrounding him.

Jenks got clean but his wife left him. And then he mounted a multi-year lawsuit during which he learned that the reason his back surgery was screwed up was because the surgeon was performing two surgeries at one time, which is an apparently common practice called “concurrent surgery,” that sounds like it totally should NOT be a common practice.

Yet Jenks has survived. He’s been sober for over seven years and he seems to be in a good place. But boy did he have to go through something harrowing to get there. Definitely take the time to read it.