Yu Darvish (37, San Diego), who made his major league debut by signing with Texas in 2012 after dominating the Japanese stage, has built a successful career that everyone recognizes and respects. He achieved a total of 103 wins (85 losses) after entering the major leagues. There were ups and downs, but the story of the comeback that overcame them is a bonus.메이저놀이터
Darvish, who is already approaching the records of the Asian greats Chan-ho Park (124 wins) and Hideo Nomo (123 wins), is evaluated to have shown a stronger pitch than them. He is also a player who refreshingly shatters the notion that ‘Asian pitchers rely on technique.’ In reality, Darvish is the league’s leading strikeout machine. He pitched 1624⅓ innings in 266 major league games, striking out 1929 batters. Throughout his career, his strikeouts per nine innings amounted to 10.7.
However, power pitchers are always close to injury. Darvish was no exception. Darvish, who enjoyed success by being selected as an All-Star for all three years from 2012 to 2014, underwent the first elbow ligament reconstruction surgery (Tommy John surgery) in his career in 2015. This is why the entire year of 2015 was blank in Darvish’s career. He returned in 2016, but it took some time for him to regain his peak prowess.
Darvish, who had been wandering for a while, regained normal performance in the second half of 2019, showed his best skills in 2020, which was shortened due to the novel coronavirus infection (Corona 19), and has been playing the role of right-handed ace in San Diego since 2021. In particular, last year, he played 194⅔ innings in 30 games, recording 16 wins, 8 losses, an ERA of 3.10, and 197 strikeouts, achieving results reminiscent of his prime. San Diego gave Darvish a new six-year contract worth a total of $108 million (about 142.7 billion won). You can see his confidence.
There were once rumors that he might return to Japanese professional baseball and retire, but he has agreed to a contract that runs until 2028, when he turns 42. Considering the ample remaining contract period, the prospect that he would set a new Asian record, surpassing Nomo and Park Chan-ho’s records in succession, was accepted as a fait accompli. However, the first year of the contract is unusual. Not only is his performance not good, but his elbow problem is also problematic.
As of the 3rd (Korean time), Darvish has pitched 136⅓ innings in 24 games this year and stands at 8 wins, 10 losses, and an average ERA of 4.56. Compared to his performance last year, his earned run average jumped significantly. In addition, I recently felt pain in my elbow and underwent a detailed examination. He was placed on the 15-day injured list on August 27. Fortunately, no damage to his ligaments was found. However, the source of his inflammation is still unclear. Darvish responded in an interview with local media on the 1st, saying, “We don’t know the reason.”
Darvish is relieved that surgery will be avoided. His will to return within the season also burns. “I’m getting paid to throw the ball,” Darvish emphasized. “It would be rude in a way if I didn’t do my best to come back.”
However, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of this inflammation. This is because Darvish has five more years remaining on his contract with San Diego even after this year ends. This is something that the club must resolve and move on from.
Some say that overgrown bones are the cause of the inflammation. Darvish signed a six-year contract with San Diego in January of this year. Naturally, he underwent a thorough physical examination before signing his contract. The North American sports media outlet ‘The Athletic’ reported on the 3rd that this problem was not serious at the time, but that small but important changes have now been discovered. Because of this, he added, despite Darvish’s relief, uncertainty still exists.
Regarding whether to have surgery, Darvish said, “It depends on how my elbow responds to the cortisone injection. But it’s not serious.” On the other hand, ‘The Athletic’ diagnosed that surgery to remove overgrown bones is open, even if it is not Tommy John surgery. ‘The Athletic’ predicted, ‘Even if the surgery is just to push out Darvish’s bone, a final surgery has not been ruled out.’
If inflammation occurs when a bone touches a ligament, the fundamental solution is to shave the bone. Otherwise, inflammation may continue to occur. It is unlikely that it will have a positive effect on the most important ligaments. There still remains a scenario where a preventive measure is taken before it becomes a major problem. If the possibility of the postseason being frustrated has increased anyway, there is a high possibility that the season will end like this.
Bone fragment removal surgery or bone cutting surgery often requires a much shorter rehabilitation period than Tommy John surgery. In the case of Tommy John, a rehabilitation period of one to one and a half years is required. After surgery to remove bone fragments, you will be able to throw a ball normally after 4 to 6 months. In other words, it would be better for Darvish to undergo surgery now if necessary in order to properly join the opening game next year. It would be a disaster if the problem arises again next year.
In a more serious case, if he undergoes Tommy John surgery, not only will Darvish miss the entire next season, but he cannot be guaranteed to play until the first half of 2025. This is because it is his second surgery and he is in his late 30s. Justin Verlander (Houston), who received the Tommy John Award at the age of nearly 40, eventually took over a year and a half to return.
Darvish also has no choice but to refer to these cases. If so, it will inevitably become difficult for him to surpass Park Chan-ho and Nomo’s records. With three and a half years remaining on his contract, the time it will take to adjust back to the league must also be considered. He is also in his 40s and cannot be sure whether he will be able to continue playing as a starter.
The best thing is to complete the contract period without surgery. San Diego is hoping for this too. It is also closely related to next year’s starting rotation. San Diego’s starting lineup is comprised of Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell. However, Snell will become a free agent (FA) at the end of this season. It appears to be quite expensive, so it would be burdensome for San Diego, whose payroll is already full, to approach. In the end, the starting lineup must be centered around Darvish and Musgrove. Darvish’s departure is, as The Athletic puts it, ‘the worst-case scenario.