After months of waiting, Phillies top prospect needs Tommy John

Andrew Painter, Phillies (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
Andrew Painter, Phillies (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

After months of trial and error, the Phillies top prospect, Andrew Painter, received the terrible news that he needs Tommy John Surgery.

The worst words for a pitcher to have brought up in a discussion on a pitcher’s health is the phrase “Tommy John Surgery.” This nightmare has been brought to reality for the Phillies top prospect for the better part of five months.

During Spring Training, Andrew Painter was diagnosed with a partial tear in his UCL, which instantly brings up the idea of the 12-18 month elbow surgery. The Phillies looked to avoid this option through therapy and rehab, but every time Painter returned to the sport, his symptoms would flare back up.

Finally, months later, the Phillies announced that Painter has officially been recommended Tommy John Surgery.

Phillies top prospect Andrew Painter to undergo Tommy John surgery

The surgery alone is a horrible procedure with a tremendously strict and strenuous rehab program that keeps the athlete out of their sport for over a year. With a prized young arm like Painter, the Phillies will likely be even safer on his rehab progressions. This could delay the top prospect’s MLB debut until 2025 or even 2026 if his rehab doesn’t go according to plan.

This kind of delay is crushing to Philadelphia fans, especially those with a short-sighted view on things. There was a world where Painter would be able to make his debut this season, but it’s now being delayed multiple years.

Tommy John Surgery has an incredible track record of getting athletes to return back to their former self at the end of the rehab. Painter should be no different than the rest of the pitchers that have undergone this surgery, as he is still just 20 years old. His fastball will likely return to its incredible 70-grade ability within 18 months.

If he ends up undergoing Tommy John, which is incredibly likely, Painter will more than likely go with Dr. Keith Meister as the surgeon. Meister, the Texas Rangers head team physician, has already performed this surgery on Jacob DeGrom, Tyler Mahle and Matthew Boyd, among others, in 2023.

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