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Joe Nathan undergoes Tommy John surgery

Mar 26, 2010, 8:28 PM EDT

Joe Nathan headshot.jpgUPDATE: General manager Bill Smith says that Nathan’s reported “significant” UCL tear ended up being a complete tear, reports Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

7:31 pm: The Twins have announced that Joe Nathan’s Tommy John surgery was a success, reports Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Mets (gasp!) team physician Dr. David Altcheck performed the surgery in New York on Friday.

Altcheck removed a tendon from Nathan’s left wrist and inserted it into his right
elbow, repairing his torn ulnar collateral ligament. The 35-year-old right-hander is expected to miss the entirety of the 2010 season, but should be ready to rock for the early part of the 2011 season.

Jon Rauch has the most closing experience among Nathan’s potential in-house replacements, though the club has yet to make a decision on that front. Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain and even Francisco Liriano have been discussed as alternatives, while Jason Frasor of the Blue Jays and Heath Bell of the Padres are reportedly available via trade.

  1. (JB) the original - Mar 27, 2010 at 8:39 AM

    Wow. I’m somewhat surprised here. First they went in the same elbow to remove bone chips and didn’t notice anything. Then an MRI which shows a significant tear. Now during the surgery they say it was a complete tear. Unless it just blew apart during his ‘game of catch’, I just can’t see how they missed it.

  2. eh? - Mar 27, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    they didn’t miss it. mri is darn good, but it still has limitations. really who can pitch effectively with a torn UCL? Nathan was in denial that he could recover without surgery, but sometimes you’ve got to give some time for the bad news to sink in. doesn’t matter much whether it’s a partial tear or full tear. too much stress is put on the ligament for a pitcher to be effective when it’s torn.

  3. Seth - Mar 29, 2010 at 5:06 AM

    I realize that you enjoy tweaking the Mets…but their team physician is in the same category as Andrews etc. He has done great work on many ballplayers from all teams and has had great results, which is why people go to him. I personally had my shoulder done by Dr.Altchek 15+ years ago and I am now 66 and he did a sensational job. My range of motion is probably better in that arm than it was before my injury and there were no complication recoveries. Sooooo, while all of the Mets’ injuries and front office buffoonery is certainly fair fodder for satire and criticism, none of that has anything to do with their fine surgeon, Dr. David Altchek!!

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