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Adam Wainwright and 10 Other Pitchers Who Had Tommy John Surgery

Alex CarsonCorrespondent IIIFebruary 24, 2011

Adam Wainwright and 10 Other Pitchers Who Had Tommy John Surgery

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    It was announced today that Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals will need Tommy John surgery.

    Having been one of the most valuable pitchers in baseball over the last couple seasons, this is a huge blow to a Cardinals team that could be trying to make one last run with slugger Albert Pujols before he tests free agency.

    Here's a look at other pitchers who have had the surgery and what it cost their teams.

Stephen Strasburg

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    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    As one of the most anticipated rookies in baseball history, Strasburg burst onto the scene.

    In his major league debut, he recorded 14 strikeouts in a dominant performance.

    He'd go on to pitch 11 more games, racking up 92 strikeouts and posting a 2.91 ERA. After some arm pain, it was discovered he'd need Tommy John surgery.

    Still only 22, he'll be back next season to hopefully re-spark that interest the country had.

Joe Nathan

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Saving 36, 37, 39 and 52 games for the Twins from 2006-2009, Nathan was poised to be their closer for a long time.

    In spring of 2010, he tore his UCL and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. He missed the entire 2010 season.

    He is participating in workouts this spring, hoping to make a strong comeback.

Tim Hudson

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Hudson was once one of the "Big Three" in Oakland.

    He's now a member of a bigger grouping with a membership no one wants.

    Late in 2008, Hudson revealed he'd need Tommy John surgery to repair his UCL.

    Because of the timing, he was able to return in late 2009 for seven games. In 2010 he pitched a full season (228 IP) and went 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA.

John Smoltz

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Smoltz having to undergo Tommy John prior to the 2000 season may have helped the Braves.

    They, of course, had a stable of solid starting pitching, but they had a pretty big issue at the end of the bullpen.

    That issue was John Rocker, of course.

    When Smoltz was ineffective as a starter after returning in 2001, the Braves moved him to the bullpen, where he went on to save 154 games over the four-year span he was used in that role.

    He'd pitch four more years as a starter to cap off his case for the Hall of Fame.

Jamie Moyer

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    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Father Time cannot catch Jamie Moyer.

    Tommy John, however, can.

    Moyer went to the Dominican League after the 2010 season, trying to prove he could still pitch. It was there he injured his UCL and had to undergo the operation.

    Will that stop the 48-year-old from playing a child's game?

    Nope—he plans to return in 2012 with his new and improved 64 mile per hour fastball.

Rick Ankiel

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Not all of these stories end in a complete sad ending.

    Rick Ankiel, as you may recall, was one of baseball's wildest pitchers at times. People put blame on his psyche, saying it was all in his head.

    Who knows when it happened or how long it was affecting him, but there was a bigger issue. It was discovered he'd need Tommy John surgery in 2003.

    He'd come back and still be really bad at pitching, so the Cardinals allowed him to convert to an outfielder, where he has had decent success over the past few seasons.

Chris Carpenter

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    After only pitching one game in 2007, Chris Carpenter got the bad news.

    It was his turn to undergo Tommy John surgery, and the problems had just started.

    He'd pitch three games in 2008 before shutting it down once again for the season.

    In 2009 he finished second in NL Cy Young voting and was an All-Star in another solid year in 2010.

Eric Gagne

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    What's worse than having Tommy John surgery? Having it twice.

    Eric Gagne had the operation a pair of times. The first time was in 1997 while still in the minors as a starter.

    He'd come back to be a closer and win a Cy Young Award in that role.

    After 14 games in 2005 (8-of-8 in save opportunities), he was lost for the season and underwent the surgery a second time.

    While he didn't come back and win any more Cy Young Awards, he had moderate success in stints with Texas and Boston but then finally broke down for good while with the Brewers.

    He was last seen pitching in the independent leagues and making a failed comeback with the Dodgers in the spring of 2010.

Kerry Wood

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Wood, along with Mark Prior, was expected to carry the Cubs back to the promised land.

    In just his fifth major league start in 1998, he fired a one-hit, 20-strikeout shutout against the Houston Astros.

    The following offseason he had Tommy John surgery.

    He'd go on to put together a couple good seasons, but things went downhill soon, and Cubs fans were always left with "what might have been."

Tommy John

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The guy who will always have his name attached to bad news.

    In 1974, in the middle of a great season, Tommy John damaged his UCL. While those before him had no hope, he decided to try something new—something uncertain.

    He underwent the surgery that was revolutionary and would soon thereafter bear his name.

    He'd go on to pitch until 1989, showing pitchers that the injury can be fixed and their dreams not shattered.

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