Mar 25, 2020 - Sports

Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard opts for Tommy John surgery

L to R: Bartolo Colon, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler in 2015. Photo: Marc Serota/Getty Images

Mets flamethrower Noah Syndergaard (aka "Thor") has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow, effectively shelving him for the next 12–15 months.

Why it matters: Tommy John surgery is hardly a death sentence, but it's no walk in the park, either. Recovery generally lasts more than a year, and the first season back typically comes with pitch- and innings-limits.

  • While it's never good to have one of your best players out of commission for over a year, the Mets lucked out with the timing of this surgery, seeing as how the 2020 season is up in the air.
  • As for Syndergaard, the timing is brutal. While fellow Tommy John victim Chris Sale recently signed a five-year, $145 million extension, Thor will hit free agency for the first time in his career after the 2021 season, likely just a few months after returning to the mound.

How it works: Tommy John was developed by Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974 as a way to reconstruct the UCL by grafting a tendon from elsewhere in the body into the elbow.

  • The doctor makes a 3- to 4-inch incision along the outer elbow and drills holes in the humerus and the ulna so they can thread the tendon into place. Then they secure the graft with sutures or screws before closing up.
  • The whole procedure takes just 60–90 minutes, and chances of a full recovery sit around 90%.
  • Why "Tommy John"? The surgery was first performed on a Dodgers pitcher named Tommy John in September 1974. Most experts believed a comeback would be miraculous, but John returned in 1976 to pitch an unbelievable 14 more seasons, from age 33 to 46, going 164-125 with a 3.66 ERA.

The backdrop: During spring training in 2015, Marc Serota snapped the above photo of the Mets' five young aces: Matt Harvey, Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler (plus Bartolo Colon).

  • Four years later, it's official: All five pitchers from that photo have either undergone elbow reconstruction or, in Thor's case, are scheduled to do so soon.

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Trump endorses Jeff Sessions' rival for Alabama Senate race

President Trump talks to reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump declared via Twitter Tuesday night that Tommy Tuberville, who is challenging former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the Republican nomination for the Alabama Senate, has his "Complete and Total Endorsement."

Why it matters: Sessions touted his Trump ties as he was forced into a March 31 runoff in his bid to challenge Sen. Doug Jones (D) in the election and regain his former Senate seat. The president criticized Sessions on Twitter afterward, but he hadn't endorsed Tuberville until now.

Alabama postpones Republican Senate runoff due to coronavirus

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Alabama is postponing its March 31 GOP primary runoff election between former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, Gov. Kay Ivey announced on Wednesday.

What’s happening: The runoff will now take place on July 14, with the winner taking on incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D) in November.

Why it matters: The news comes as states scramble to contain the coronavirus during an election season. U.S. officials have warned against gatherings of more than 10 people.

  • Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland and Ohio have also postponed their primaries.

Coronavirus cancels baseball's opening day

Photo: Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Today should have been Opening Day, but like seemingly everything else in the world, those plans have been scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Football and basketball might be more popular sports, but the baseball season is perhaps the most engrained in American life, with the 162-game campaign providing a certain rhythm to the spring and summer months.

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