There was a controversy in the past couple of weeks in which people questioned whether two ace pitchers — Noah Syndergaard and Chris Sale — undergoing Tommy John surgery was a good idea in the midst of a pandemic.
Synndergaard had his UCL repaired at the Hospital for Special Surgery in West Palm Beach, Florida last week. Sale got his done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. The controversy pits the reduction of medical services during the pandemic to those which are “essential” against arguments that, for pitchers, TJ surgery is essential for their careers. In the absence of statewide bans, that is a call for doctors to make and ElAttrache has specifically made the “this is essential” argument for a pitcher. There are, however, an increasing number of statewide bans.
Against that backdrop the Boston Globe reports that the most famous TJ doctor around, Dr. James Andrews, says he will not perform Tommy John operations on players during the pandemic, adhering to Florida’s ban — enacted after Syndergaard’s surgery — on elective procedures. That could delay Seranthony Domínguez’s surgery. He’s an Andrews patient. It will likely impact the surgery of others as well.