The blow of losing Danny Duffy for the next year was softened a bit by the Royals 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday evening. However as the days progress it will really sink in that an already depleted Kansas City pitching staff is going to lose one of the few consistent players they had in the rotation.
For a team that has long since needed a break to go their way, the Royals continue to be dealt with troubling news as Duffy becomes the second young pitching talent to go under the knife in as many years (and I'm not even including Joakim Soria who had Tommy John surgery earlier this spring).
In addition to John Lamb and Duffy, the Royals also had the recent career ending injury situation with Gil Meche. As we recall, Meche did the unthinkable when he returned a years worth of salary to the Royals after he retired.
Can you do anything to stop a player from getting to the point of Tommy John surgery? It's impossible to prevent it, but teams need to start thinking more seriously about what steps can be taken to prevent the situation from coming up.
At an alarming rate, it's not all that uncommon for pitchers to tear ligaments, it's nearly a right of passage anymore with young pitchers.
So what can teams do to help lessen the issue? The answer may lie in science. With some advancements, specifically in medicine and biometrics, why not use all tools possible before it becomes too late?
Duffy first complained of arm issues three starts ago, so as with any young star pitcher the Royals should have put him through the MRI tests to check for damage at that time, as they may have been able to do something before it came to this.
Sure MRI's are expensive, but in the money that major league organizations are dealing with, it's pocket change. The more we know medically about a player, the better.
Secondly, there are have great advancements in the study of biometrics. Maybe you've seen the Sports Science clips on ESPN in recent times. Basically they attach little foam balls to an athlete and are able to study the player with computers. They can look at nearly everything, delivery motion, arm angles, and can calculate the stress it causes on the body.
There are evern biometric shirts that have been designed at Northeastern University that can monitor fatigue and strain to an athlete.
The science is there, now the teams just have to adapt to using it. We might be able to prevent more news like that we received today from happening in the future.