A Grim Prognosis For Glen Perkins
Image courtesy of Adam Hunger, USA TodayIt's nice that Perkins will no longer face the uncertainty and frustration of continual setbacks, but he now has a very long and challenging road to recovery ahead of him. Procedures to repair labrum and rotator cuff issues are far murkier than elbow surgeries like Tommy John, which has now become almost routine with a reliably standard rehab window.
Will Carroll, who has closely studied sports injuries and medicine for years, calls a labrum tear "baseball's toughest injury." Others have dubbed it "the career-ender." Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who examined Perkins in California this week and will perform the upcoming surgery, has likened fixing a damaged shoulder to trying to put a puzzle together without the box top for guidance.
Many pitchers, particularly those in their 30s, are never able to return as effective players.
That's not universally true, so there is still hope for Perkins. But the Twins need to come to terms with the somber reality that the lefty may be finished for all intents and purposes. At the very least, he'll be out through a portion of the 2017 season (his last under contract) with an extremely uncertain outlook thereafter.
That means the search for a future closer is no longer a consideration that can be placed on the back-burner. Right now, the available options are unappealing. Kevin Jepsen is clearly not the guy. Hurlers within the system who possess the requisite stuff -- such as Alex Meyer, J.T. Chargois and Trevor May -- have failed to distinguish themselves. Nick Burdi might be the best hope internally but his own injury issues have limited him to three appearances this season (naturally, he just had a setback).
In year that has been filled with unsettling developments for the Twins organization, this one has to rank near the top. As a hometown star who once bought a round of beers from the bullpen for a contingent of Twins Daily event-goers, Perkins is a natural fan favorite. Beyond that, his importance to the relief corps has been magnified by the unit's complete collapse this season. While most of us have seen it coming for a while, this development is nevertheless crushing.
Alas, this merciless 2016 Minnesota Twins season drags on...