The Padres drew some ire around the league earlier this month after trading Colin Rea to the Marlins and seeing him get injured after four innings. He was quickly returned with an arm injury. The Padres hope he will be able to pitch again in 2017.
Of course with injuries, there is no set timetable. The Padres have watched pitchers like Josh Johnson, Brandon Morrow, and Cory Luebke struggle to return from Tommy John Surgery and Rea is hoping to avoid the surgery with a different medical method.
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He had a platelet-rich plasma injection and is hoping to rehab that way with hopes of pitching again sooner than later in 2017. He consulted with Dr. James Andrews before making the decision.
“It was a hard decision to make, and he was really leaning toward trying the PRP, giving it a shot,” Rea said about his discussion with Andrews “With him being one of the best surgeons in the world, he said, ‘Tommy John really isn’t a cure-all, you might as well give this a try.'”
If he can avoid the surgery, it could be a huge boost not only for the Friars but also of course for Rea. Surgery is never a sure thing and if it can be avoided could certainly lead to a longer career for Rea down the road.
From a timing perspective, as he tries this method now if it doesn’t work then he could still end up having the surgery and hope to be back for 2018. It is a risk, but certainly Andrews knows what he is talking about as the pre-eminent expert in the field. Rea echoed those thoughts: “Surgery should be the last resort, it shouldn’t be something that you just automatically go to. If we figure out that this doesn’t work, then we know what the decision is going to be.”
The Padres faced some scrutiny in the industry when Rea when down right after the trade, and faced further questions about some aspects of Drew Pomeranz arm when he was dealt to Boston. What I don’t understand is that teams must accept terms of the physicals before finalizing a trade. With players and especially pitchers, there is ALWAYS a risk factor. The Padres seemed to salvage things by “taking him back” and not forcing the Marlins to keep what could be seen as damaged goods. If Rea is able to rehabilitate and be back for 2017, the trade/tradeback could look even better for the Padres.