Dr. HQ: Outlooks on Pineda and Crawford

This supremely talented power pitcher has been diagnosed with a tear in the anterior portion of the labrum in his pitching shoulder. What is his outlook for recovery?

The surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday, and as of right now, it does not include the need for any additional repair work. As we have learned in the past however, once they open up the shoulder, they may find more damage that the MRI did not show. Speaking of MRIs, Pineda had one at the time of the deal, and another at the start of spring training, and they did not reveal a tear of the labrum. The first time it showed up was in the latest MRI done to determine the cause of the shoulder pain. In short, there is no indication that he was traded with a damaged shoulder.

What about the future? We are going to assume for the moment he does not have any other damage. This tear will cost him all of 2012.  If he avoids any kind of setbacks, he’ll be brought along very slowly next spring. Given the track record of pitchers coming back from surgery to repair a tear to the labrum, which is poor at best, he will be a lousy investment next year and we may not see anything close to the 2011 version until 2014 or beyond. Any fantasy owners who hold on to him will need to be very patient.

Sox Lose Crawford Until August

The Carl Crawford saga continues in Boston. That sore left elbow that Bobby Valentine and others believe to be a minor concern, turned out to be significantly damaged. Crawford has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. Based on the Red Sox announcement that he will miss three months, Crawford has a high Grade 2 or more likely, a borderline Grade 3 sprain. That would be consistent with the pain he was feeling.

After seeing Dr. James Andrews, Crawford underwent a Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment in the left elbow. This is where they spin down the patient’s blood (Crawford’s) to separate the blood, so the platelets can be injected into the area of the damaged ligament. Platelets contribute to the healing process more than other parts of the blood. This treatment is new and largely unproven, but the hope is this procedure will help the healing process along.

What is in store for Crawford owners the rest of the season? Because he is trying the rehab route and not surgery, the hope is he will return by the very end of July or early August. If Crawford suffers a setback of any real significance, it will likely end his 2012 season and lead to surgery.

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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.