Athletes just want to play. They want to be on the stage they've known their entire life. They want to perform at the highest level possible. This is why so many athletes come back from injury early or play through injuries. This is why so many athletes ignore the warning signs. It's not an indictment on the athlete, but rather a problem that competition fuels. Perhaps it's an unsolvable problem, but there are people out there willing to try.
When the Arizona Diamondbacks' Daniel Hudson tore his UCL in the middle of the 2012 season, he was being closely watched. Not because of concerns surrounding injury, but because he was a young up-and-comer. That 2012 season saw a sudden drop-off compared with his 2011 performance, which of course was compounded by the injury. Hudson underwent Tommy John surgery in June of 2012. He went through the normal rigors of rehab, and came so close to a return in 2013. However, pain and discomfort in his elbow led to another torn UCL diagnosis. That's two tears in less than two years. Two Tommy John surgeries in less than two years. Our pitching and hitting mechanics experts at Baseball Rebellion took a look at Hudson to see if they could figure out what happened.
It's clear that Hudson's injuries have an element of bad luck. Hudson himself points to this. There are plenty of pitchers who undergo Tommy John surgery, don't change much about their mechanics, and do not suffer the same injury. In Hudson's case, it looks like mechanics coupled with bad luck have made him one of the rarest examples of how damaging pitching can be on the elbow. There have been others who have undergone two Tommy John surgeries, but none that jump to mind did so in less than a year.
Hudson's injuries have been especially devastating to both Hudson and the Diamondbacks because of what it seemed lay ahead. In 2011, Hudson burst onto the scene with 16-12 record to compliment his 3.49 ERA. With Ian Kennedy at the top followed by Hudson, the Diamondbacks thought they had one of the better one-two punches in baseball rotations. Unfortunately, Hudson struggled in 2012 - probably due to problems with his elbow that he may not have discussed with anyone. Now, we may have to wait until the end of the 2014 season or even the start of the 2015 season to see if Hudson can make a comeback.
But will Hudson change enough to ease the stress on his elbow? Will Fox at Baseball Rebellion went even deeper with his analysis of Hudson's mechanics.
Hudson will have a long road back. He will have to make further changes to his delivery if he is going to have any level of success in the Majors again. In truth, Hudson could be pioneering a comeback that no one has ever done. Without throwing a Major League pitch between surgeries, Daniel Hudson will try to come back from two Tommy John surgeries.
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