Cesar Carrillo first experienced forearm tenderness after his start on May 18, 2006.
“I was feeling something and my arm was just getting tired. I was saying, ‘man, it just doesn’t feel right.’”
He was sidelined for several weeks before returning to the mound on June 6, 2006.
It would be the last time he threw last season. He experienced further discomfort, and doctors prescribed rest, hoping he would avoid surgery.
Even Carrillo wasn’t sure it would work when he came to Spring Training this year.
“I didn’t want to chance anything and hurt my shoulder if I am worried about my elbow. I got shutdown and went for an MRI and they said the flexor tendon was a little bit stressed out. The fear was there is no way for it to get healed unless you had surgery, but there are cases where it does heal by itself. Hopefully, this is one of those cases.”
It turns out all the stress ended on a sour note. After working through an inning and two-thirds on April 30, Carrillo threw a first pitch ball to Tommy Murphy. He immediately signaled for pitching coach Gary Lance and trainer Jason Haeussinger.
An MRI in San Diego confirmed the Padres worst fears.
In his five starts, he has posted a 0-2 record with an 8.62 ERA. He allowed 14 walks and 22 hits in 14.2 innings of work this season.
Tommy John surgery, known by doctors as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (or UCL), is a surgical procedure in which a ligament in the elbow is replaced with a ligament from elsewhere in the body.
The estimated recovery time can vary from as short as nine months to over a year. Full range of motion usually occurs roughly two months after the surgery. Over the next several months, weight training is used to strengthen the arm and ligament before a throwing program is instituted at around the six-month mark.
Today, it is estimated that 85 percent of patients who have Tommy John surgery make a full recovery, with many pitchers seeing an increase in their velocity.
Carrillo came into the year ranked as the No. 1 pitching prospect in the system by MadFriars.com and number two prospect overall. His future is now tied to how his arm heals after the surgery.
Carrillo will get a second opinion before opting for the surgery.
Tim Stauffer will come off the disabled list to take his place on the Portland Beavers roster. Stauffer had been rehabbing in Peoria, Arizona.