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Jonathan Pettibone to undergo shoulder surgery

Jun 17, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

Jonathan Pettibone Jonathan Pettibone

Last month the Phillies allowed right-hander Jonathan Pettibone to put off surgery despite being diagnosed with a partially torn labrum in his shoulder. When questioned about the seemingly odd decision at the time general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. insisted that “a lot of pitchers have these irregularities and pitch through them.”

To which I wrote: “Something tells me I’ll be writing a ‘Jonathan Pettibone to undergo shoulder surgery’ post at some point, but hopefully I’m wrong.”

Well, now Pettibone is having the surgery. Jim Salisbury of reports that Pettibone will undergo “exploratory surgery” to be performed by Dr. James Andrews and “it’s extremely doubtful he will pitch again this season.”

He actually first experienced the shoulder problems last season and has essentially been putting off surgery in favor of rest and rehab since then. And now the 23-year-old with a 4.04 career ERA in 18 starts for the Phillies may not pitch again until mid-2015.

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  1. miguelcairo - Jun 17, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    Another one bites the dust.

  2. bankboy2012 - Jun 17, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    I know it’s almost guaranteed that trying rest doesn’t work, but I can understand why some guys want to try it. The surgery isn’t near as invasive as it once was, but you’re still talking about someone taking a knife and cutting into you.

  3. paperlions - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    Man, having TJ surgery on BOTH elbows and a hip replacement would give his pithcing future a better outlook than labrum surgery. How many pitchers have come back from a torn labrum one or two? Chris Carpenter did, and I know one other guy did….but mostly, labrum surgery = end of pitching career.

  4. APBA Guy - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Yeah, the success rate on shoulder surgery isn’t good. Both my brother and his son had shoulder surgery, the latter by Dr. Andrews, and neither of them recovered, and that was with 30 years in between the procedures.

    In a blog post: Outcomes for Elite Pitchers after Shoulder Surgery

    Brian Schiff summarized surgical results thus:

    “Performance declined for the 3 seasons prior to surgery and then gradually increased for 3 seasons afterward, but generally did not reach pre-injury levels.”

    You can read the data on the blog, but it isn’t encouraging. You take your chances with the surgery and hope you are the exception who makes it all the way back.

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