Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Tommy John surgery for Meredith
Meredith, a Richmond native who pitched in college at VCU, will undergo the ligament replacement procedure today in Washington, according to a Nationals spokesman. Team orthopedist Wiemi Douoguih, who examined Meredith in person yesterday, will perform the surgery.
Recovery time from Tommy John surgery is typically 12-to-18 months. At best, Meredith would be ready to return next spring.
The Nationals had high hopes for Meredith, who was a key member of the San Diego Padres' bullpen from 2006-09 but struggled last season with the Baltimore Orioles. Shortly after the season ended, Meredith had arthroscopic surgery to have bone chips removed from his right elbow.
The Nationals signed the 27-year-old side-armer to a minor-league contract over the winter hoping he was completely healthy. Though his chances of making the Opening Day roster appeared slim, Meredith figured to begin the year at Class AAA Syracuse and be among the first options for an in-season call-up.
Instead, Meredith had to cut short his first bullpen session of the spring after experiencing elbow pain. An initial MRI did not show any major damage, so after resting several days, Meredith attempted to resume throwing. He again had to cut that session short due to pain.
The Nationals had the pitcher undergo a second MRI, this one an enhanced arthrogram in which a dye is injected in his arm. That test revealed a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament, requiring the major surgery.
Team officials insist there was no reason to believe Meredith's elbow might have been seriously injured at the time they signed him.
"I don't think there was any concern," manager Jim Riggleman said. "It was bone chips. If there was anything else there, I wouldn't know that. ... But if you've got a bad ligament there, it's going to go, I guess. It could be a wear-and-tear injury that's been going on for years, but when they did the bone chips, there was no reason to do anything more at that point, I assume."
Posted by Mark Zuckerman at 9:42 AM