Recovery time shortened after doctors opt to fix, not replace torn ligament
By Evan Webeck
PHILADELPHIA -- Seth Maness' surgery on his ulnar collateral ligament Thursday went well, in two aspects. It was a successful operation -- and it wasn't Tommy John surgery, as had originally been scheduled.
Rather than replacing Maness's injured ligament with another -- the Tommy John procedure -- doctors only repaired the existing one, drastically reducing his recovery time.
"They went in and had to tack [the ligament] down," manager Mike Matheny said. "I think it changes the prognosis of when he could potentially be back."
Recovery from Tommy John can take anywhere from 12-18 months. Matheny said Maness could be back in half that time, by Spring Training next year on the early end. No matter when Maness returns, it's an arm the Cardinals couldn't account for prior to Thursday's operation. He almost certainly would have been out the entirety of the 2017 season had Tommy John been required.
Maness had pitched through elbow discomfort all year before deciding to go under the knife for a season-ending surgery. He was shelved for more than a month because of his elbow from May 13-June 18. Prior to the DL trip, Maness had a 6.39 ERA, but after returning he posted a 1.42 mark, including a 14 1/3 scoreless-inning streak.
• Matt Holliday's surgery on his fractured right thumb was also a success, though his recovery time remains the same.
"It sounds like it went well," Matheny said. "I'm anxious to hear how they feel the healing process is going, but it sounds like things went as good as possible."
• Backup catcher Brayan Pena began a rehab assignment on Friday with Class A Advanced Palm Beach. He is recovering from inflammation in his left knee that has kept him out since the start of July. In Palm Beach, Fla., Pena joins Lance Lynn, who is also rehabbing there. Lynn, coming back from Tommy John surgery he underwent last November, threw 1 2/3 innings in his first rehab appearance Monday.
Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.