Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Josh Beckett Needs Tommy John Surgery

Best of luck to Yaz on his recovery.

You know what I love? Some good fear mongering (that's why I chose that inflammatory, if potentially misleading title). Take a potentially bad situation (Josh Beckett and his tingling fingers), throw in a worrisome lead up (Beckett goes less than three innings in his prior start, then admits to the press that his fingers are numb), a tension-filled situation (race to the playoffs, problems with the ace of the staff with the well-deserved big game hunter reputation, and an unsure position in the AL East and Wild Card races), and a lack of solid communication by the team about Beckett's true condition, mix 'em all together, and guess what: you've got a concerned fan base. What's a good paper to do to address the needs of their audience and maybe stir up some ad-selling controversy at the same time? Why, interview an expert, of course!
Dr. Robert Shalvoy of University Orthopedics in Providence does not know the specifics of Beckett's numbness, but he fully understands the ramifications of the pitcher's symptoms.
Shalvoy, who obviously has not examined the pitcher, said normally these types of symptoms take six weeks to go away.
Shalvoy, who has preformed ulnar collateral ligament surgeries, described Beckett's issue as "prime symptoms" for a pitcher who has needed Tommy John surgery to repair the damage.
So, to review: this doctor says that a patient he hasn't examined may need Tommy John surgery even though he's only had access to the same minimal symptom reports that the rest of us have seen? Really? I realize the guy is an expert with an impressive resume, but a complete diagnosis of a complex ligament problem from a TV interview seems a little hard to swallow. And really: who prints an opinion like Shalvoy's without any sort of counterpoint? Fear mongering, man, I tell ya.