Gleyber Torres is an up and coming shortstop in the New York Yankees organization. Torres was acquired last year with other prospects and Adam Warren from the Chicago Cubs for Aroldis Chapman who eventually won the World Series with the Cubs.
After showing his abilities with the Yankees in spring training, Torres began the regular season in Double-A with the Trenton Thunder. He played 32 games batting .273 with 5 home runs, a .367 on-base percentage before being called up to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Berry Railriders.
Torres seemed to step up his game after getting called up. Playing 23 games batting .309, with a .406 on-base percentage and 16 RBI’s, before his unfortunate injury.
In a game against the Rochester Red Wings, Torres trying to score from 2nd base took an awkward headfirst slide into home plate. The slide caused Torres to tear his ulnar collateral ligament forcing him to get Tommy John Surgery.
Joe Trani is the regional clinical director for Professional Physical Therapy who specializes in sports orthopedic injuries.
“Ligaments are what connects the bones together, they’re basically like rubber bands they are very elastic,” said Trani. “So once a person sprains the elbow the ligament becomes stretched out so once they lose that elasticity the joints become unstable and that’s what leads to more injuries.”
Dr. Armin Tehrany is a board certified orthopedic surgeon, who also specializes in sports medicine and is the founder of Manhattan Orthopedic Care.
“When someone suffers trauma to the elbow the way Torres did, unfortunately, there aren’t many ways to prevent it from happening,” said Dr. Tehrany. “Other than the basics of maintaining good strength, staying physically fit and also making sure one’s nutrition is good in order to keep the body strong.”
If you have not seen the video, you can check it out on the Minor League Baseball YouTube channel. Torres looks like he is going to slide feet first but while in the air goes for the headfirst slide and lands awkwardly on his arm.
“In Torres’ attempt to extend the arm in order to touch home plate with that outstretched arm then landing on the ground that’s what caused the UCL to tear, I don’t think it was the tag,” said Dr. Tehrany.
“As he was going down and the forces that came up through the arm as he touched home plate builds what’s called like a valgus stress on the joint which causes the elbow to flex inward and that’s what probably caused the ligament to tear,” said Joe Trani.
It has been reported that Torres will be back in time for spring training. But it will not be an easy process and he will need to work hard.
“What we do early on is we try to work on their range of motion, as well as try and gain some of their general strengthening instincts and once we get to a certain point then we can get a little bit more specific to strengthening the elbow and getting them back to do more sport specific activities,” said Trani. “Usually a professional baseball player take anywhere from a year to get back on to the field it all depends on how they’re progressing through their throwing programs.”
Torres is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery and will hope to get back as soon as possible.
“I think that unfortunately a lot of players feel as though by having Tommy John surgery their elbow actually gets better than it was before they ever got injured and that is not true,” said Dr. Tehrany “It is a devastating injury and it could take at least a year sometimes two years to recover from.”
It is important to note that both Dr. Tehrany and Joe Trani made it clear that without having Torres as a patient and looking at his x-rays they would not be able to give specific answers to a timetable for return or best course of action. But with their expertise and the information available to us, they gave their professional opinion on things they have been through with other patients and what Torres could expect.
“You’re going to hear multiple reports saying that he’s going come back here or there, but again everybody’s going to respond to their rehabilitation differently and once they determine that course of action and how aggressive to be early on then they’ll have a better time frame of when he will be back on the field,” said Trani.
With his progress in Triple-A and the reps he was taking at third base, it was reported that he could be called up to the Majors to relieve Chase Headley. This is a setback but with the injuring occurring to his non-throwing hand hopefully, there will not be any long-term effects.