The Angels announced that starter Griffin Canning is getting a “biological injection” in his ailing elbow and will be re-evaluated in 3-4 weeks’ time. Canning was recently diagnosed with both UCL and joint issues in his pitching elbow.
The phrasing of the announcement is interesting. The word “biological” generally leads me in two different directions with this sort of injury. Many baseball players have been treated with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections for a variety of issues in recent years, but the Angels have also used stem cell injections to try to treat UCL woes.
Andrew Heaney, Garrett Richards and Shohei Ohtani all got stem cell treatments for their elbows. All three also eventually wound up getting Tommy John surgery. I’m not willing to go as far as the LA Times article did in condemning the treatments as useless, seeing as a sample size of three is rather small. They’re also not the only players who have ever been treated with stem cells. CC Sabathia, for instance, got a stem cell injection for his bad knee.
Regardless of what the treatment is or isn’t, it’s a positive sign that Canning’s injury wasn’t deemed dire enough to immediately merit surgery. Canning isn’t going to be ready for Opening Day either way, but if the injection works he may be able to pitch at some point this season. Goodness knows that the Angels’ rotation needs all hands on deck, even after the team signed both Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran this winter.