Baseball Magazine

Why Don’t Position Players Get Tommy John Surgery?

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

It’s an interesting question.  With all the throwing position players do, why don’t they ever need Tommy John surgery?  Of course, I’m making a generalization.  Position players do sometimes get Tommy John surgery but they seem to be very few and far between.  In fact, the only example I know of is LA Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal. 

Consider this …

With common throws like this, why aren't there more TJ surgeries for position players?

With common throws like this, why aren’t there more TJ surgeries for position players?


  • Infielders often need to throw across their bodies to make a play.
  • Middle infielders routinely short arm the ball on throws.
  • Infielders often drop their elbow below their shoulder on double play feeds and throws.
  • Infielders throw everyday and many long-toss as well.
  • Infielders frequently throw off-balanced using mostly their arms.
  • Position players usually throw more than 60 feet.

All the above are things we usually tell pitchers to avoid so they don’t get hurt. 

I realize that there are some things that are unique to pitching.  Throwing on an elevated mound is an example.  I’ve heard that throwing off a mound adds six times the strain that throwing on flat ground does.  This is why a growing number of coaches do not allow their pitchers to spend a lot of time doing drill work on a mound.  Throwing breaking pitches is another example.  Although position players think they have great breaking pitches, they rarely mess with them.

However, with the shear amount and type of throwing position players do on a regular basis, wouldn’t you think the number of Tommy John surgeries would be higher for those guys?  I’m not offering any solutions or clear cut answers here.  Just giving something to think about.

Any thoughts?

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