Brett Anderson: Will Oakland Athletics Ace Ever Be the Same?
Whenever it is announced that a pitcher has to undergo Tommy John surgery, fans are deflated immediately. It usually means the player will miss at least a year, and depending on when the surgery takes place, he might miss a large portion of two seasons.
The latter is the case for Oakland A's starting pitcher and a main component in the "Big Four," Brett Anderson.
Anderson had the surgery in July of this year and is not expected back until at least the same time next year.
That's the bad news about Tommy John Surgery. The good news is that it's possible to come back to the game and return to form. It's been done before, and here are a few current players who have gone through the procedure and are now back on the hill.
After going through the list, maybe A's fans will have hope that one of the teams top pitchers will return to the rotation an perform at a high level.
A.J. Burnett had the operation in 2003 when he was with the Florida Marlins.
In 2001 and 2002, Burnett won 11 and 12 games respectively.
Since the surgery he has won 12 or more games twice, one of those being an 18-win season that caused the New York Yankees to back the money truck up to his house.
Other than the 18 wins, Burnett's numbers have not been eye-popping since being cut on, but his numbers never really were.
One would have to conclude that he actually did return to form based on his numbers prior to the operation.
Tim Hudson had the surgery in August of 2008 and returned to the mound in September of 2009.
Hudson had seven starts in 2009 and was 2-1. In 2010 he seemed to show no ill effects and posted a 2.83 ERA while going 17-10.
The 2011 season was similar with a 16-11 record, but his ERA was 3.22.
Brian Wilson had the surgery when he was in the minor leagues.
He converted himself to a reliever while still in the minors.
Although Wilson had elbow problems at the end of 2011, he is still considered one of the premier closers in Major League Baseball; As Wilson might say, "Fact."
Steven Strasburg went down in 2010 and returned in 2011 starting five games going 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA.
The Washington Nationals are being very careful with Strasburg. They limited him to about five innings per game in 2011.
Andrew Bailey also underwent Tommy John Surgery while he was in the minor leagues.
No. 40 did have some issues with injury in 2011, but in his first two seasons with the Oakland A's he was the rookie of the year and a two-time All-Star.
Bailey has logged 26, 25 and 24 saves in his first three seasons, and his ERA has been 1.84 in 2009, 2.83 in 2010 and 3.24 this past season.
2007 was the year that Chris Carpenter went under the knife.
Carpenter didn't make a full return until 2009, and what a return it was. He won 17 games against only four losses with an ERA 2.24. The big right-hander is still the No. 1 guy in St. Louis
Carpenter finished second in the Cy Young voting in 2009.
Grant Balfour had the surgery in 2005.
It was a long road back for Balfour, but in 2007 he was able to find his way back with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Since then, he has pitched well. In 2008 he posted a 1.54 ERA. He struggled a bit in 2009, but his ERA was 2.28 in 2010 and 2.47 in 2011 as member of the Oakland A's.