June 2005 - Los Angeles Dodgers Wiretap
Gagne Undergoes Successful Surgery, Ligament Replacement Unneeded
Eric Gagne's season-ending elbow surgery went better than expected Friday: The Los Angeles Dodgers' All-Star closer did not need a ligament replaced after all, and could return by spring training. Originally expected to be out 12-to-14 months following several MRI exams, Gagne now faces about six months recovery time, and he could start throwing a baseball even earlier. After the 90-minute surgery performed by Dr. Frank Jobe and Dr. Ralph Gambardella in Los Angeles, Jobe gave his optimistic report to Gagne. "He was so excited," Jobe said during a conference call before the Dodgers played the Los Angeles Angels. "I mean, he was still pretty much asleep, but he was awake enough to understand it. He just smiled and put his fist up in the air." The doctors found a slight amount of fraying from the original graft that was stitched when Gagne underwent Tommy John surgery in 1997. Also, there were nerves that had scarred down onto the graft, which was causing Gagne considerable pain. The surgery relieved the pressure the nerves were placing on the graft. "The ligament was intact, but there was a sensory nerve that was running right along the elbow bone, along with the ligament," Jobe said. "So the symptoms were identical to a ligament tear, but it was really just an irritation to the nerve."
Gagne Will Have Season-Ending Tommy John Surgery
Dodgers closer Eric Gagne will have season-ending surgery to fix a sprained ligament in his right elbow. The 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner had a second MRI exam Tuesday and doctors concluded he needs Tommy John surgery. The All-Star reliever has a second-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament and was recently placed on the 15-day disabled list. His operation was scheduled for Friday. "We're probably looking at about a year, maybe by the All-Star break next year he'll be back," manager Jim Tracy said. Gagne, who owns the major league record of 84 consecutive saves, landed on the disabled list for the first time in his seven-year major league career on April 1 when he hurt his elbow, possibly while compensating for a knee injury sustained during spring training. It was the same elbow that underwent ligament replacement surgery in 1997. Gagne returned to action May 14 but aggravated the injury while pitching against Minnesota on June 12. "It is a partial tear of the ligament, not a complete tear," Tracy said. "The surgery is not a complicated surgery. The damage is not significant to make the surgery overwhelming."
Is Peavy The NL's Best Pitcher? 13 K's Against Dodgers Makes Statement
The Padres' Jake Peavy made another argument for why he has become the NL's best starting pitcher, throwing 8 scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and striking out 13 in San Diego's 1-0 win over the L.A. Dodgers. "I felt like I was in Omaha, like some of those college kids," said Peavy. "That was just a lot of adrenaline. This is the loudest I've ever heard Petco Park," Peavy said. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out a career-high 13 and held Los Angeles to two hits in eight innings. Peavy had originally been scheduled to start Sunday at Minnesota but was pushed back a day in part so he could get an extra day's rest but also so he could face the Dodgers. "I was told that. I'm not sure I was supposed to say that," said Peavy, who in his previous start lost 8-4 at Detroit on Tuesday in a game that included a rain delay of 1 hour, 43 minutes. "Obviously you've got to win these games in your division," Peavy said. "It pumped me up that they wanted me to face L.A., and I wanted to face L.A. I hope the team feeds off this."
Bradley's Health Is Progressing
Outfielder Milton Bradley and catcher Paul Bako, who are on the disabled list, are to be examined in Los Angeles early next week, manager Jim Tracy said. Bradley, who tore a ligament in his right finger May 29, is to undergo tests on the finger on Monday. Bako, who has a mild sprain of the left knee, is to be examined Tuesday. Bradley, a switch-hitter, took 20 swings right-handed off a batting tee Tuesday and experienced slight discomfort. But he stopped after 18 left-handed swings. "It's a little bit uncomfortable, but it's OK right-handed," Tracy said. "But it's not even usable, [batting] lefty. He can't swing."
Gagne Might Be Done For The Year
Eric Gagne has a torn ligament in his pitching elbow, and the Dodgers are bracing themselves for the possibility that their All-Star closer could require surgery that could end his season and jeopardize his chance to return next year. Gagne complained of a burning sensation in the elbow after pitching on Sunday, and an MRI examination in Kansas City on Monday revealed the tear. Dr. Frank Jobe is scheduled to review the MRI results today in Los Angeles and determine whether to recommend surgery. "Right now, we're hoping for the best," Gagne said. "That's all we can do." The Dodgers listed the injury as a second-degree sprain ? by definition, a partial tear ? of the ulnar collateral ligament. "There's a tear in it," athletic trainer Stan Johnston said. "How big it is has yet to be determined." A second-degree sprain is more severe than a first-degree sprain. Gagne sat out the first six weeks of the season because of what Johnston said was a first-degree sprain in the elbow. This time, Gagne said, he felt "not like a pop, but a warm sensation in the arm." He added: "It felt like the exact same thing, but not as good." Later, he said, "You feel good one day, and the next day you can blow it out. You never know." In case of surgery, the standard repair is the so-called Tommy John procedure, which generally requires 12 to 18 months of rehabilitation. Gagne had that operation in the minor leagues and sat out the 1997 season.
Alvarez The Latest To Be Placed On Dodgers DL
The Los Angeles Dodgers placed pitcher Wilson Alvarez on the 15-day disabled list on Monday because of a sore left shoulder. "I cannot pitch like this," Alvarez said. "It has not been a great year for me this year." Alvarez, whose shoulder has been hampering him since spring training, is 1-3 on the year with a 5.79 ERA.
Dodgers And Penny Come To A Tentative Agreement
The Los Angeles Dodgers and pitcher Brad Penny have come to a tentative agreement on a three-year contract extension with a fourth-year option worth a reported $32 million. Penny is making $5.1 million this season and will be eligible for free agency this fall if his contract is not extended. "I know where I'm going to be," he said. "Now I can settle down and be comfortable here and pitch every five days. "Maybe I would get more, but it's got a lot to do with being happy three years out. You can make more money and be miserable. And the Dodgers are going to win."
Bradley Goes To The DL With Torn Ligament In Finger
Milton Bradley is heading to the DL with a torn ligament in his finger. Bradley is hitting .298 with 26 RBI and 10 home runs, tied with Jeff Kent for the team lead entering Friday night's game against Milwaukee. Manager Jim Tracy is confident that his No. 5 hitter won't have to spend any extra time on the DL after he becomes eligible to return on June 14. "He's still to the point right now where even squeezing the bat is not something he's really even capable of doing at this point," Tracy said. "He can't completely get the ring finger down onto the handle of the bat. So to even think about venturing down to the cage and trying to swing is not even feasible."