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One of the MLB’s leading pitchers had surgery this week. Another is about to undergo it. The outcome for both is good, but the recovery time for one of them is not so good.

Justin Verlander, who has just undergone groin surgery, is the luckier of the two. The 37-year-old Houston Astros pitching ace is not expected to be out for much more than six weeks.

And with the delays created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2011 American League MVP and two-time AL Cy Young Award winner could even be ready to pitch the first ball of the new season.

This is good news for the eight-time All Star right-handed pitcher who led the Astros to a World Series victory in 2017. He also made the All MLB 1st Team in 2019

This is not the case for Chris Sale. The star Boston Red Sox pitcher has been told he needs the dreaded Tommy John Surgery.


Not good news

And that’s not good news. Not for the team’s management and coaching staff. Not for Sale. Not for any Pitcher who wants to stay in the game.

Tommy John surgery (ulna collateral ligament reconstruction) is a word pitcher’s hate to hear. It has mostly produced excellent results, but the recovery time can take up to 12 months and more.

Initial medical reports are of great concern for Sale and the Red Sox. They suggest that not only will he miss the entire 2020 season he could also be a non-starter for part or all of the 2021 season.

The coronavirus, of course, could still see changes to the MLB’s current playing schedule. But whatever happens, Sale is going to be out for a long time.

A lanky 6ft 6in left-handed pitcher who helped the Red Sox win World Series glory in 2018, he first ran into elbow trouble late last season.

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Sale hurt in training

Then earlier this month he sustained or aggravated his elbow injury in training, having just returned from a two-week lay-off. This was to recover from a strained flexor tendon in his forearm.

Sale, whose strength is his high strike-out rate, will be missed.

A seven-time MLB All-Star from 2012 to 2018, he is also a two-time American League (AL) leader in strikeouts, (2015 and 2017).

Since 2017 he’s been the MLB’s career leader in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.32), and has reached 1,500 strikeouts in the second fewest innings pitched (1,290).


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