The Miami Marlins may have lost one star player in Giancarlo Stanton for the rest of the year, but as Stanton's year has finished, Jose Fernandez's long year to recovery has begun anew. According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Fernandez saw Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles to see if he is ready to resume throwing activites on October 1.
Dr. ElAttrache was the physician who performed the surgery, so he will determine whether Fernandez is ready to resume activities again after the May injury. If you will recall from our first article regarding the ins and outs of UCL injuries and Tommy John surgery, the throwing schedule usually resume within four to six months.
From there, players go through rehab and physical therapy. For the first ten days, the arm is splinted still. In one month, the player can utilize isometric exercises involving applying force while remaining still. Throwing should begin in four to six months after surgery to avoid the valgus stress on the arm. Competitive throwing should be the goal at nine to 12 months.
Fernandez had the surgery done on May 16, putting his potential start time on throwing activities around five months since the surgery. This is right on schedule and hits the average of what we can expect from the surgery, as stated above. This is a good sign, as it means we can expect Fernandez to be back as scheduled provided everything else goes as planned; if the evaluation on Thursday went well, his initial healing process will have gone well.
From here, Fernandez still has a lot of work to complete. Throwing activities are still light at this stage and are nowhere near big-league pitching. As noted before, competitive throwing at the sort of levels needed to play baseball would probably resume closer to one year after the surgery. Ideally, Fernandez would be ready to start throwing competitively around Spring Training, but even then, the path would probably leave him out until closer to the All-Star Break in 2015. Marlins fans should prepare themselves for at least half a year without Fernandez next season.
But this is good news nonetheless. Jose Fernandez is making progress on the way back to the field, and Marlins fans should be excited about that.