Joe Nathan undergoes Tommy John surgery
Joe Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery and flexor repair on Wednesday. The closer confirmed the news via text message on Thursday, the first day of his rehab.
“Everything went very well,” Nathan texted.
Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press first reported that surgery took place.
Dr. Keith Meister performed the surgery in Texas. The surgery came exactly a week after Nathan left his rehab appearance at Triple-A Toledo with a severe elbow injury, later revealed to be tears of the ulnar collateral ligament and the flexor pronator. The surgery ended his 2015 season after four pitches, a one-out save on Opening Day against the Twins. At age 40, his career is also in serious question, but he said he will rehab with the intention of a comeback attempt.
“Already back in there doing some exercises,” Nathan said.
Given the procedures, he said he’s unlikely to pick up a ball for eight months, which puts the start of next season likely out of range for him.
Nathan remains on the 15-day disabled list for now until the Tigers need an extra spot on their 40-man roster, at which point they would move him to the 60-day DL. Some have asked on Twitter why the Tigers don’t simply release Nathan, but beyond not serving any benefit, it would actually cost them money to do so. For the Tigers to collect any insurance on Nathan’s contract, they would have to keep him on the roster the entire season.