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MRI Reveals Torn UCL For Trevor May

Plans to turn around the Minnesota Twins rotation took a hit today with the news that Trevor May, a big factor in those designs, has suffered a tear to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Read on for details and quotes regarding the right-hander’s very unexpected setback.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs
In a decade of playing professional ball, May has amazingly been able to avoid any kind of significant elbow or shoulder issues. “I’ve literally never missed a day of baseball activity because my arm hurt,” he said.

So it isn’t too surprising that when he felt a “grab” on an 0-2 pitch against Andrew McCutchen while facing Team USA on Wednesday night, he downplayed it. When speaking to reporters after the game, he was very positive, signaling no distress or concern.

He came in the next morning and felt soreness, and then on Friday the tear showed up on a scan, which even in the pitcher’s non-medical opinion was “pretty conclusive.”

Standing outside the clubhouse on Saturday morning alongside top baseball executives Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, May was subdued but searching for silver linings. So, too, was the general manager.

“When the results of the MRI came back, it was a little bit unique in the sense that it sounded as if the wear and tear component, or the cumulative impact, was very minimal," Levine said. “It really was an acute injury ... That’s very atypical for a guy who has logged 10 years worth of pitching on his arm.”

“That gives us cause for optimism that maybe the health of the overall region is very strong but for this one acute area."

Of course, this doesn’t change the basic realities. May will seek a second opinion – no date or doctor has been scheduled as of yet – and there are a few potential options on the table, but Tommy John surgery seems likely.

Levine expressed no plans for reactive moves by the team, noting that injuries are always an expectation.

“I don’t think you ever have any misgivings that you’re going to go through the process without needing significantly more than five starters. You hate to have it happen at this point to a player who’s put in the that work he’s put in, but the reality is that’s why we built up some of the depth we did coming into camp and it’s going to give other guys opportunities.”

Among those guys are Tyler Duffey, Jose Berrios, Adalberto Mejia, Rule 5 pick Justin Haley and non-roster invite Ryan Vogelsong. Duffey pitched well in a road start for the Twins against Miami on Friday and Berrios is preparing to make his first start for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.

For May, who was the subject of a feature here on Twins Daily just a couple days ago, it’s a difficult pill to swallow but he vows not to let it derail his determination.

"If it comes down to getting good old fashioned Tommy John, I’ll go from there,” May said. "I’m not a guy who’s gonna sit here and mope about how hard I worked and now it’s not gonna happen.”

“Yesterday was tough, but I’m probably going to go right back to that little notebook I have with me, and those goals I write down every day are just going to change from this year to next year.”


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121 Comments

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Dave The Dastardly
Mar 12 2017 11:03 AM

 

Unfortunate, to say the least. Get well, and best of luck.

I'd also like to ask, as a mod, that posters both

1) ease up on loosely founded and wildly skeptical blame, and

2) ease up on attacking those who do.

Neither are worthy of these forums.

Thanks.

You're right. If truth be told, I visit Twins Daily for wit, not wisdom. If I don't get at least one belly laugh and two chuckles off this site every day I'm outta here. Otherwise being a Twins a fan is just too depressing.

    • Carole Keller, USAFChief, Mike Sixel and 3 others like this

This perturbs me.

Here is a recent review of the current state of UCL repair. It is fairly technical, but thought I would post it for those who may be interested.

http://journals.sage...325967116682211

    • Kevin, Craig Arko, Sconnie and 1 other like this

Here is a recent review of the current state of UCL repair. It is fairly technical, but thought I would post it for those who may be interested.

http://journals.sage...325967116682211

thanks for sharing. I didnt really get it, but appreciate your expertise
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The Wise One
Mar 13 2017 03:03 AM

 

While Hughes has had 4 solid to good years, he has spent 10 years in the majors. He has 12.1 total WAR and a career 4.41 ERA.
His last 6 seasons he has a 4.50 ERA.

While that isn't the end of the world, I wouldn't call that "good" either. Hughes is basically a guy who more than likely is a #4/#5 guy, which is a shame because he had a ton of potential.

There are plenty of "good" pitchers out there, May could have been one of them.

10 years? First two years were minimal exposure to big leagues,2011 and 17 were injury years. It has been argued by some smart people that 2015 Hughes could have been affected by TOS. In the six full seasons that he has played, four of them he has put up good WAR numbers. In the last 7 years he had an ERA of 4.24. FIP of 4.04. It all depends on what cherries you want to pick. Unfortunately, I still have yet to see even cherry picked numbersthat say going from starting to relieving blows out arms and interferes with development. In the end Mays had some bad luck with the arm. Fraying of UCL in the past has been an overuse for that person phenomenon. There has been enough for traits to emerge. If it is as some say an overuse injury, then pitching less innings will not cause the injury. If the cause is because of increased rotation of the forearm, again bullpen time does not cause the injury.

4.40 carer era
95 career era+
Even a 4.24 era over the last 7 years isn't good.
That's #5 type production.
I mean I like Hughes and hope he can have the kind of season he did a couple years ago, but I'm not holding my breath, esp coming off significant arm issues.

 

Here is a recent review of the current state of UCL repair. It is fairly technical, but thought I would post it for those who may be interested.

http://journals.sage...325967116682211

OK, I haven't read the report.  Did it name any pitchers that have had the repair?  I believe Seth Maness might be the first major leaguer to go through it.  He is with Kansas City now, had spent years with the Cardinals.  The Cardinals also have Mitch Harris, who went through the repair.  He is in camp and throwing well, but it's pretty early.  The stories I've read make it sound promising for a quicker recovery, but there is no long-term data as of yet.  If May has the repair procedure, you may want to keep an eye on Harris and Maness this year.

    • Heezy1323 likes this

I have to wonder if ire we have displayed here today might be exacerbated by Kiriloff's injury as well. 

 

I was pretty bummed when I heard about May's injury.Another good guy, with a hard work ethic and well liked by many fans and his teammates goes down.It's hard to take.

 

But I feel (IMHO) that we have to step back and take a deep breath.I think we all realize that injuries happen (**** happens).I am inwardly deeply terrified of any potential injuries my son might face playing ball (I cringe to myself every time he rolls an ankle, swings his shoulder and grimaces, runs full tilt into another outfielder, etc.). 

 

But in the end, I have to accept... no matter what he does, an injury could just happen.All I can do is encourage him and stand beside him.Casting blame on things we have little or no control over does us all no good.

 

The Lord willing, May will come back and be a productive pitcher next year.If not, then He has other plans for him and I wish him nothing but the best and count myself thankful for being to able to watch and follow him, just as May's family and friends also do.

 

This is also probably why I shouldn't post in forums though... I seem to have a marked tendency to vomit forth half formed, incoherent detritus as thoughts and ideas, and then look at what I just typed and go... "Wow, I really am an idiot".

 

 

 

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diehardtwinsfan
Mar 13 2017 09:00 AM

I'm holding out hope that he gets the repair instead of the full TJS.He'd at least be ready for opening day next year instead of just getting back into the swing of things and in 2018... ugh.this one really hurts.I know some aren't high on him, but I think he was the best bet to be a above average pitcher on this team for the future... all those questions though won't get answered this year, and it's going to add another set of questions for him as well.

 

Yuck.

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ashburyjohn
Mar 13 2017 09:21 AM

4.40 carer era
95 career era+
Even a 4.24 era over the last 7 years isn't good.
That's #5 type production.

Most years the average starter has an ERA+ under 100. It's the nature of the role.

 

Doesn't make him an ace, but #5 is way undervaluing that kind of production.

    • snepp likes this

 

It's never a good idea to screw with a young arms development cycle.

This is one of the effects of doing so.

Injuries of course can happen to a pitcher at anytime, but messing with them like the Twins did with May only increases those odds.

 

Plus it sets them behind in development time before the inevitable injuries even occur. May will be on his age 28 season next year. The odds have now gotten slim that he'll ever be able to put together a long career as a start. Had he been in the rotation last year (at age 26) and finished 2015 (age 25) in it and thus already been established- this would likely been only a blip in his career.

    • Mike Sixel, DaveW, TheLeviathan and 1 other like this

 

Plus it sets them behind in development time before the inevitable injuries even occur. May will be on his age 28 season next year. The odds have now gotten slim that he'll ever be able to put together a long career as a start. Had he been in the rotation last year (at age 26) and finished 2015 (age 25) in it and thus already been established- this would likely been only a blip in his career.

 

Yep.  My fear is his career is basically over now.  Plan B..... Meija? Berrios?

    • d-mac likes this
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Deduno Abides
Mar 13 2017 02:15 PM

Here is a recent review of the current state of UCL repair. It is fairly technical, but thought I would post it for those who may be interested.
http://journals.sage...325967116682211


Thanks, Heezy. I agree with the poster who said he likes TD for belly laughs, but I also like when someone shares information that makes me smarter or gives me a new perspective. Your knowledge on pitching and injuries is great to read.
    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, Craig Arko and 2 others like this

I have to wonder if ire we have displayed here today might be exacerbated by Kiriloff's injury as well.

I was pretty bummed when I heard about May's injury. Another good guy, with a hard work ethic and well liked by many fans and his teammates goes down. It's hard to take.

But I feel (IMHO) that we have to step back and take a deep breath. I think we all realize that injuries happen (**** happens). I am inwardly deeply terrified of any potential injuries my son might face playing ball (I cringe to myself every time he rolls an ankle, swings his shoulder and grimaces, runs full tilt into another outfielder, etc.).

But in the end, I have to accept... no matter what he does, an injury could just happen. All I can do is encourage him and stand beside him. Casting blame on things we have little or no control over does us all no good.

The Lord willing, May will come back and be a productive pitcher next year. If not, then He has other plans for him and I wish him nothing but the best and count myself thankful for being to able to watch and follow him, just as May's family and friends also do.

This is also probably why I shouldn't post in forums though... I seem to have a marked tendency to vomit forth half formed, incoherent detritus as thoughts and ideas, and then look at what I just typed and go... "Wow, I really am an idiot".


This is all true. But, on the other side of the coin is the fact that it's not impossible that there is something in the organization that is contributing to the injuries.
I'm not suggesting that something is, I'm nowhere near a position to know either way. But, I don't think the Twins would be doing their job if they don't consider that possibility.
    • Heezy1323, Deduno Abides and MN_ExPat like this
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LimestoneBaggy
Mar 13 2017 03:19 PM

 

Most years the average starter has an ERA+ under 100. It's the nature of the role.

 

Doesn't make him an ace, but #5 is way undervaluing that kind of production on the Twins starting staff.

FTFY

 

OK, I haven't read the report.  Did it name any pitchers that have had the repair?  I believe Seth Maness might be the first major leaguer to go through it.  He is with Kansas City now, had spent years with the Cardinals.  The Cardinals also have Mitch Harris, who went through the repair.  He is in camp and throwing well, but it's pretty early.  The stories I've read make it sound promising for a quicker recovery, but there is no long-term data as of yet.  If May has the repair procedure, you may want to keep an eye on Harris and Maness this year.

This was more of an academic review paper written by the surgeons out of Rush in Chicago (team doctors for the White Sox). It did not name any players who have undergone the repair procedure. I am not aware of any others aside from those you mention. I agree entirely that watching those pitchers will be interesting (whether May undergoes the procedure or not). Your take on the recovery is the same as mine- promising but lacking long-term data.

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ashburyjohn
Mar 13 2017 05:48 PM

FTFY

I guess that counts as a correction, on the Twins starting staff. :)

    • LimestoneBaggy likes this
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diehardtwinsfan
Mar 14 2017 08:55 AM

May goes under the knife this week.Any way of finding out which procedure he's getting?

    • GP830 likes this

 

May goes under the knife this week.Any way of finding out which procedure he's getting?

Tune into his Gamercast and ask him?

 

Tune into his Gamercast and ask him?

I'm realizing that this maybe sounded snarkier than I intended. My apologies-- but seriously, it may be the most direct way to get that question answered.

    • diehardtwinsfan likes this
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diehardtwinsfan
Mar 15 2017 11:37 AM

no worries.I'm not much of a gamer, figured the there would be people in the know with a better answer.

    • GP830 likes this

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