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Injured All-Star Pitcher Sounds Off About Arm Injuries

The Atlanta Braves received some good news over the weekend. The damage to Spencer Strider‘s UCL was caused by a bone fragment that became lodged in it. He’ll miss the rest of the year but could return in around 12 months instead of after the 2025 All-Star break. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Keith Meister, the Texas Rangers team physician who specializes in elbow surgeries,  was able to perform an internal brace procedure over a full Tommy John surgery. Strider spoke with reporters over the weekend for the first time since leaving his start on April 5 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

While he spoke at length on many topics, one stood out the most. It wasn’t Strider talking about the injury and recovery process but about bringing more attention to pitcher injuries.

Spencer Strider Discusses ‘Injury Epidemic’

Strider addressed the controversy behind what some have called an epidemic of pitching injuries. He disagreed with those who argue that putting in a “max effort” in pitching is the primary cause.

“I mean, if you’ve got three hours, I’ll sit down and have this conversation,” the 25-year-old said. “I don’t want to create some sound bite for somebody to turn something into. There’s so many things that go into it. It’s such a complex situation. And I think what’s been frustrating from my end is reading things and seeing people talk and implying that it’s one thing or that they somehow are in a position to know why injuries are happening. If we knew, then they’d stop happening.”

Strider was Atlanta’s No. 1 starting pitcher after going 20-5 with 281 strikeouts last year. He led the major leagues in both wins and strikeouts. Between the 2022 and ’23 seasons, he posted a 3.36 ERA and 318 1/3 innings of work. Atlanta has turned to right-hander Darius Cines to fill Strider’s spot in the rotation.

Strider’s X-rays Were a Surprise to Some

After he came out of his start, Strider’s X-rays showed the bone piece, a surprise to many in the room.

“It looked like I broke my humerus, like I broke the tip of my humerus,” Strider said. It’s the upper arm bone which is connected to the forearm bone by the UCL. “And there’s this big bone floating in my arm. We had to do all of the imaging to understand what it was, and then get in there to see kind of what was really going on.”

Strider had an MRI the next day then went to see Meister for a second opinion. He’s known for a modern version of Tommy John surgery- one that involves using an internal brace. He uses it without Tommy John in some cases when the UCL isn’t completely torn, similar to Strider’s injury. The success rate for pitching returning to full strength after two Tommy John surgeries isn’t as high as coming back from the first surgery. But the good news is that Strider will be back sooner than later.

Main Photo: © Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports



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