Lance McCullers Jr. Talks With Mad Radio About Surgery

McCullers joined Mad Radio on Tuesday morning for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last week​.

MAD Radio
November 13, 2018 - 1:28 pm
Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. vs the Mariners

USA TODAY Images

BY: Mike Meltser

Lance McCullers joined Mad Radio on Tuesday morning for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last week​ in California. Lance was diagnosed with a torn UCL in late August, but chose to rehab and pitch in the postseason. He finished the playoffs with a 1.80 ERA in 5 innings of relief work.

On his progress since surgery last week: "I feel really good, I'm in good spirits. I'm very excited to get this makeshift cast/splint off and be able to get into a brace."

On the decision to return this season: "I wouldn't have made it back for the 2019 playoffs anyway, so I figured it was the best thing to do for the team and for myself, to try to rehab for a short period of time and kind of gut through it, pitch this year, get surgery, and have as much time as possible to be back and ready to go in 2020."

How much pain was he in during the playoffs? "The ALDS, I was in a little bit of pain. The ALCS, I was in a lot of pain. I just think that pitching in the cold in Boston...I had actually talked to [orthopedic surgeon Neal Attrache], he had said that more I pitched, the further I got along, the more it was going to start to bother [me]. I think I definitely would have been able to kind of gut through, finish the playoffs if we had kept going, but up there, at the end, it was getting pretty  painful."  

Speculating on the origins of the elbow injury: "This kind of all goes back to 2016, when I started the year with some shoulder tendinitis. I think I just came back too early from that. I implemented a new arm swing in 2016 that was going to help my shoulder, but I don't know if I really thought about the effects it may have on other parts of my body, especially pitching. I ended up spraining my UCL that season...so I think a little bit may have to do with what was going on there, in my attempt to pitch through a little shoulder tendinitis."   

On the upside of the timing of the surgery: "This is the best situation of an obviously bad situation. The amount of time I have to rehab this particular injury versus most guys. With me, I [had] the surgery, I'll be able to rehab all the way up until next October/November, and I'll be able to shut down for a normal offseason, and then build up for a spring training like I normally would. So, the situation that I'm in, although it's unfortunate, the timing is probably the best it could have been."

Notes:

-McCullers mentioned he's talked to other Astros pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery, including Charlie Morton, Will Harris, Roberto Osuna, and Brady Rogers.

-While his need for Tommy John surgery was kept secret for a month, McCullers said he was able to tell his close friends, family, and teammates.