Bad news today for Twins fans (and good news for White Sox fans), as 22-year-old pitcher Francisco Liriano found out he'd need Tommy John surgery and will miss the rest of this season and possibly next season as well. Here's what CNNSI.com had to say about Liriano:
"It's a devastating injury, not just to the Twins but to baseball. Liriano had everything done right -- he was watched closely, he started in relief, he had his counts and innings monitored, and when he hurt himself, they took things very conservatively. While he awaits the results of an MRI taken quickly after the injury, it looks as if Liriano is headed for Tommy John surgery. If so, he'll miss the bulk of the 2007 season."
Which of course, raises a question in my mind. Namely, if the Twins had done everything right, how did this young player, with just 20 major league starts, suffer such a devastating injury? I looked at his pitch counts, and indeed, the Twins treated Liriano very carefully. In only 5 of his 20 starts had he gone over 100 pitches, with 111 being his top outing. No Dusty Baker to blame here for leaving him out on the mound too long.
The point I'm trying to make is that injuries to pitchers happen, whether their pitch counts are carefully monitored or whether a more aggressive manager asks them to stay in games longer (a la Baker in 2003). This injury to Liriano serves as further proof that counting pitches can't prevent a pitcher from needing surgery.