The Frankie Montas trade for the New York Yankees hasn’t gone as smoothly as expected. Even general manager Brian Cashman admitted that «it hasn’t worked out at all,» as the right-hander started just eight games after coming over from the Oakland A’s, pitching with a 6.35 ERA in those outings.
Now, Montas is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery Tuesday that could sideline him for the entirety of this upcoming season. The Yankees don’t really know what’s been affecting Montas’s shoulder, which they knew was a problem when they traded him last summer. But the inflammation hasn’t gone away, and after trying to get ready for spring training, Montas had to shut down.
Dr. James B. Carr II, of the Hospital for Special Surgery, specializes in shoulder ailments, and on Monday gave Fox News Digital some insight into what Montas and the Yankees might expect once the arthroscopic procedure begins.
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«In terms of what you’re looking for, you often have a pretty good idea based on the MRI,» Carr explained. «The MRI is very good today, we have a good idea of where the inflammation is. A lot of times you have an idea if there is any frayed tissue or a flap of tissue that may be compressing or causing pain you have a good idea if there is a bone spur that may be causing pain causing impingement that may be causing that inflammation sometimes you go in there and you see something extra like a flap of tissue that you didn’t see on the MRI sometimes you go in there and see very red and inflamed bursitis type tissue that you can clean up and take care of the inflammation that way.
«I guess they’re probably looking for the inflamed bursitis tissue, if that’s where the inflammation is. Or they’re looking for something inside or outside of the joint that might be causing that inflammation, whether it’s a flap of tissue or a bone spur and address it in consequence».
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Basically, a variety of things can be found when doctors try to identify Montas pain. Because of this, doctors can leave the procedure with good news or bad news.
«The best case scenario is that you go in there and all the anatomical structures are intact,» Carr said. «So, the cartilage looks good, the labrum looks good, the rotator cuff looks good. There may be a little of inflamed tissue that you clean, but at best it would be one where you don’t have to repair a structure. You’re doing more of what we call a debridement, which is really the classic cleansing procedure. If you’re just cleaning So that has a much shorter recovery timeline because you’re not waiting for the structures to heal from a repair standpoint.»
Carr added that a six-month recovery is the likely timeline for Montas, which would have him back around the end of August.
The worst-case scenario, though, is why manager Aaron Boone, Cashman and the rest of the Yankees’ higher-ups fear missing the entire season.
«The worst case scenario is if you go in there and you realize there’s a broken structure or something that you need to fix, whether it’s the capsule or the labrum,» Carr said. «That’s a more serious problem that really requires more of a recovery process of nine to 12 months. It could jeopardize his season.»
The reason recovery requires that timeline is because the shoulder needs to be strengthened in multiple areas around it. As Carr says: «Virtually throwing a ball overhead the way a starting pitcher does is probably the most unnatural position you can put your shoulder in.»
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Doing it with mid-’90s sinkers and high-’80s sliders makes it that much more important to get shoulder strength.
The Yankees traded left-handers JP Sears and Ken Waldichuk, right-hander Luis Medina and second baseman Cooper Bowman for Montas and reliever Lou Trivino before the MLB trade deadline last season.
Waldichuk and Sears have a chance to make the A’s Opening Day roster in the rotation, while Medina is about to be called up to the bigs. So the trade could be one-sided depending on how these young pitchers perform with Oakland.
For now, the Yankees definitely appear to be on the losing side as Montas waits to hear what has been haunting him since last season.
With Montas expected to miss quite a bit of time either way, the Yankees are expected to lean on inside options like Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt this season.
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Montas will also become a free agent after this year.