Tommy John Talks Yankees, Surgery and More
Earlier this week on Levack and Goz former Major League Baseball player Tommy John joined the show. Although famous for his playing career, John has become more known for the surgery that holds his namesake. Masahiro Tanaka is struggling with arms issues, and super prospect Gleyber Torres will be out for the remainder of the season with an elbow surgery. John reflected on what he believed was the toughest part of his recovery.
Well, it was mental. I had surgery. Dr. Jobe did surgery on my elbow in 1972, I had torn the flexor mass off my elbow. So he went in and did the surgery, reattached it. So I’m coming back that next spring, and you know, I’m ready to go, and I’m throwing, and everybody’s asking me, “Is your arm okay? Is your arm okay? Is your arm okay?” And I said, “Yeah. Yeah, my arm’s fine. Yeah, my arm’s fine.” Fine, like, a couple of the coaches’ wives asked me, “Is your arm okay, Tommy?” And I just exploded, and I shouldn’t have, and I apologized later for it. But that being said, Dr. Jobe and I had a long talk, and he said, “I can’t tell you that you’re ready to pitch. I can tell you that you’re healed. The manager can’t tell you. The pitching coach can’t tell you. The only person that can tell you you’re ready to pitch is you.” So I did some things that were crazy, the next day or so, but I went into the bullpen and threw for one hour. As hard as I could throw. One hour of fastballs. And the next day, I did 45 minutes of curveballs, as hard as I could throw, and the next day my arm wasn’t sore, and it feels pretty good. I went out and I pitched an inter-squad game, and everybody came up and they said, “That’s the old TJ. That’s the old TJ. Yeah! Yeah!” And that’s when I knew I had to convince myself so when I had the big surgery in ’74, it didn’t make any difference how I felt. I knew I had told myself already that I wasn’t going to pitch in ’75, so I didn’t really try to. I just took it easy, and I took it slow. I took it long, and I took it slow. And I knew that it took me a half a year, and then I’d start throwing the ball pretty good. But I pitched in a ballgame one year, one day after surgery, and that’s pretty quick. And I think now, that if you tell somebody they have the surgery, that they’re gonna be back one year, one day, I think everybody would drink champagne on that.
To hear the full interview click on the link below. How should the Yankees handle the Gleyber Torres injury? Let us know below.