Park Chan-ho’s record so hard to follow… Japanese pitcher’s ordeal continues as “surgery can’t be ruled out”

Darvish Yu (37, San Diego), who made his major league debut in 2012 when he signed with Texas after tearing up the Japanese scene, has had a successful career that everyone can recognize and respect. He has a career record of 103 wins (85 losses) since entering the majors. He’s had his ups and downs, but his comeback story is a bonus.

Now approaching the records of Asian greats Chan Ho Park (124 wins) and Hideo Nomo (123 wins), Darvish is considered to have a more powerful delivery. He also dispelled the notion that Asian pitchers rely on finesse. In reality, Darvish is the league’s leading strikeout machine. In 266 major league games, he struck out 1,929 batters in 1624 1/3 innings. For his entire career, he struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings.메이저놀이터

However, power pitchers are always close to injury. Darvish was no exception. After a dominant career that saw him named to the All-Star team all three years from 2012 to 2014, Darvish underwent the first elbow ligament reconstruction (Tommy John surgery) of his career in 2015. Darvish missed the entirety of 2015 because of the surgery. He returned in 2016, but it took him a while to get back to his best.

After struggling for a while, Darvish found his groove in the second half of 2019, had his best season in 2020, which was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been the right-handed ace for San Diego since 2021. Last year, in particular, he was back to his prime, going 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 194⅔ innings over 30 games. San Diego rewarded Darvish with a new six-year, $108 million contract. The confidence is palpable.

At one point, there were rumors that he might return to Nippon Professional Baseball and retire, but he’s signed through 2028, when he’ll be 42. Given the generous amount of time left on his contract, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would set a new Asian record, surpassing both Nomo and Park Chan-ho. However, the first year of his contract has not gone well. Not only are his grades not up to par, but his elbow has been bothering him.

As of March 3, Darvish is 8-10 with a 4.56 ERA in 24 games this year, throwing 136⅓ innings. That’s a huge jump from last year’s performance. On top of that, he recently felt some elbow pain and had it checked out. On August 27, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Fortunately, no ligament damage was found. However, the source of the inflammation is still unclear. “We don’t know why,” Darvish told local media on Aug. 1.

Darvish is relieved to be able to avoid surgery. He is also determined to return in time for the season. “I’m getting paid to throw the ball. It would be disrespectful in a way if I didn’t do my best to come back.”

But it’s hard to pinpoint the source of this inflammation. Darvish has five more years left on his contract with San Diego after this year. It’s something the club must address and move on from.

Some theorize that the inflammation is caused by his laugh bone. Darvish signed a six-year contract with San Diego in January of this year. Naturally, he underwent a thorough physical before signing. The problem wasn’t serious at the time, but now a small but significant change has been detected, The Athletic reported on Wednesday. Because of this, despite Darvish’s relief, there is still uncertainty.

“It depends on how my elbow responds to the cortisone injection. But I’m confident it’s nothing serious.” The Athletic, on the other hand, said he was open to surgery to shave off the bone in his laugh line, if not Tommy John surgery. “Even if it’s just to push the bone out of Darvish’s bones, it doesn’t rule out eventual surgery,” said The Athletic.

If the inflammation is caused by the bone rubbing against the ligaments, then removing the bone is the fundamental solution, otherwise the inflammation could continue. It’s unlikely to do any good to the most important ligaments. There are still scenarios in which you can proactively cut the bone before it becomes a big problem. If you’re going to miss the postseason anyway, there’s a good chance you’re going to end the season with this injury.

Typically, bone chip or bone shaving surgeries require a much shorter recovery period than Tommy John surgery. With a Tommy John, you can expect a one to one-and-a-half year rehabilitation period. A debridement surgery will allow him to throw normally in four to six months, which means it’s better for Darvish to have the surgery now if he wants to be ready for Opening Day next year. It would be a waste to have the problem return next year.

In the more serious case of Tommy John surgery, Darvish would not only miss all of next season, but would not be able to pitch until the first half of 2025. This would be his second surgery and he’s in his late 30s. Justin Verlander (Houston) underwent Tommy John surgery at the age of nearly 40 and it took him over a year and a half to return.

Darvish can only look to these examples. It will be difficult for him to surpass Park and Nomo’s records. He has three-and-a-half years left on his contract, and you have to factor in the time it will take him to adjust to the league again. He’s also in his 40s, so there’s no guarantee that he’ll be a consistent starter.

His best bet is to finish out his contract without surgery. San Diego is hoping for that. It”s closely linked to next year”s starting rotation. Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell are the core three-punch of San Diego’s starting rotation. However, Snell is a free agent after this season. He’s going to be expensive, so it’s hard to imagine San Diego approaching him with an already full payroll, which means they’ll have to build their starting lineup around Darvish and Musgrove. Darvish’s departure is, as The Athletic puts it, a “worst-case scenario.

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