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A’s Can’t Catch a Break: Brett Anderson gets Tommy John Surgery

Posted By Josh Muller On Jul 15 2011 @ 3:30 pm In Oakland A's | 4 Comments

I swear I’m not trying to exclusively write negative posts, and yet:

The A’ [1]s announced Thursday that Brett Anderson received Tommy John Reconstructive Elbow Surgery to repair his throwing arm, making him officially unavailable for the rest of the season.

When it rains, it pours.

The good news, if you can call it good news, about this whole scenario is that Tommy John surgery has become such a perfected science that the success rate for the procedure is incredibly high. It seems like almost half the pitchers in the majors have had the surgery and almost all have come back to full strength. In fact some pitchers claim that their stuff was better after recovering from the surgery than it was before. With all that in mind, it makes the next bit of news slightly easier to swallow, but not easy enough.

The recovery period for this procedure is typically 12 to 18 months with some cases ranging to a full two years. This means that Brett Anderson will not only miss the rest of this year but will likely miss all of the 2012 season too, hopefully being ready by the start of the 2013 season. The absolute best-case scenario is that Anderson is ready around the All Star Break next year, but if I were all of you, I wouldn’t be holding my breath; he hasn’t had the best injury history so far.

We know what this means for Brett Anderson, but what does this mean for the A’s?

The A’s biggest strength might well be the depth of the starting rotation. Even with the absence of Anderson and fellow starter, Dallas Braden, for much of the year, the A’s have still managed to put together a more than capable rotation with key signings and solid depth in AAA. Brandon McCarthy has proved to be a steal and Guillermo Moscoso, Graham Godfrey, and Josh Outman all have pitched well when given the chance. But there is no denying Anderson’s talent; he’s a front of the rotation starter and no matter how many good pitchers a team has, the loss of a Brett Anderson isn’t easy to remedy.

Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill are a very nice 1-2 punch at the top of any rotation, but the absence of Anderson means the A’s are going to have to score more runs (and we all know how that has gone lately). The 2012 lineup will likely be pretty inexperienced with prospects Chris Carter, Michael Taylor, and Grant Green all expected to get significant time in the majors so unless they come in and light the world on fire, it could be another long year.

The A’s should have a bit better of an idea of what they have going into next year soon enough, though, as they are likely to trade most of their veterans for prospects and fill out their roster with young guys who are looking to make a name for themselves including the guys I just mentioned. The team isn’t winning anyway so you might as well see if the guys in the upper minors are ready for the big show. (I’m currently working on an article predicting where we might send some of our veterans and for which prospects so stay tuned).

All in all it seems like the A’s just can’t catch a break and their woes are now seeping into next season. For Brett Anderson, I hope you recover well and don’t beat yourself up to bad. Injuries happen and they suck but there’s nothing you can do about this one except wait for it to get better. Hopefully the A’s will be making a playoff run and you’ll be the key addition when you come back.

A guy can dream right?

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