Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale needs Tommy John surgery. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Top surgeon defends Tommy John procedures for MLB pitchers amid coronavirus outbreak

Many hospitals are postponing surgeries that are considered to be non-life-threatening at this point due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but does that same principle apply to Major League Baseball players? It doesn't seem that way. 

A few notable pitchers need to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair their elbows, including Boston's Chris Sale, New Yorks' Noah Syndergaard and San Francisco's Tyler Beede. They'll miss the entirety of the 2020 season, but if they don't get the surgery sooner rather than later, the 2021 season could be in jeopardy as well.

One of the nation's leading Tommy John surgeon, Neal ElAttrache, defended players having the surgery even though COVID-19 concerns are growing. 

"People need to be a little more thoughtful how they judge Tyler Beede or the Giants for trying to take care of him,” ElAttrache said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman. 

“I know that I’m going to get criticized for taking care of these kinds of guys, but it’s essential to their livelihoods,” ElAttrache said. “If you have somebody’s career at stake and they lose two seasons instead of one, I would say that is not a non-essential or unimportant elective procedure.”

Of course not any player can undergo surgery at this time, and ElAttrache insisted he's being selective with who enters the operating room.

“We’re trying to select players so we don’t overtax the system,” ElAttrache said. “We have to have some criteria. We don’t want it to be arbitrary. We want the public to trust what we’re doing. If we didn’t have some criteria for selecting patients, we easily could be accused of bias for non-medical reasons and lose the public trust.”

The surgeries that are in question are performed in private clinics, not hospitals crowded with coronavirus patients at the moment.

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. Although many think Boston sports fans are insufferable, Erin tries to see things from a neutral perspective. Her passion is hockey, and she believes defense wins championships. In addition to covering sports for Yardbarker, she covers Boston sports for NBC Sports Boston. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90


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Can you name the pitcher who recorded the final out from every World Series since 1995?

An asterisk indicates that the final out was recorded by a pitcher whose team did not win the World Series. 

SCORE:
0/25
TIME:
5:00
2019 / WAS / #44
Daniel Hudson
2018 / BOS / #41
Chris Sale
2017 / HOU / #50
Charlie Morton
2016 / CHC / #38
Mike Montgomery
2015 / KC / #17
Wade Davis
2014 / SF / #40
Madison Bumgarner
2013 / BOS / #19
Koji Uehara
2012 / SF / #54
Sergio Romo
2011 / STL / #30
Jason Motte
2010 / SF / #38
Brian Wilson
2009 / NYY / #42
Mariano Rivera
2008 / PHI / #54
Brad Lidge
2007 / BOS / #58
Jonathan Papelbon
2006 / STL / #50
Adam Wainwright
2005 / CHW / #45
Bobby Jenks
2004 / BOS / #29
Keith Foulke
2003 / FLA / #21
Josh Beckett
2002 / ANA / #40
Troy Percival
2001 / NYY* / #42
Mariano Rivera
2000 / NYY / #42
Mariano Rivera
1999 / NYY / #42
Mariano Rivera
1998 / NYY / #42
Mariano Rivera
1997 / CLE* / #41
Charles Nagy
1996 / NYY / #35
John Wetteland
1995 / ATL / #43
Mark Wohlers

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