ST. PETERSBURG — Rays reliever Nick Anderson made it back on the mound in September after spending months rehabbing a partially torn elbow ligament but couldn’t regain his dominating form.
Now, Anderson opted for a surgical procedure, the installation of a brace to support his ulnar collateral ligament. The Rays expect that he will be fully recovered by the second half of the 2022 season.
The brace, a suture-like tape coated in collagen that is attached to the ligament to provide strength and prevent further injury, was put in Wednesday by Dr. Keith Meister. It is a much simpler procedure, with much less recovery time, than Tommy John surgery. Rays manager Kevin Cash underwent a similar procedure last week.
Anderson, 31, will be sidelined from throwing for three-four months, with a schedule to return to game action after the All-Star break in mid-July.
“We’re very encouraged,” Cash said. “To Nick’s credit, he worked really hard to try to get back. In the back of his mind, he knew that it wasn’t right, just didn’t feel right, but he wanted to do everything he could to contribute. At the end of the season, he expressed that he felt like he needed some further views on his elbow.
“All the reports from post-surgery seem encouraging that he should contribute to us for a large chunk of the season.”
Anderson was one of the game’s top relievers after being acquired from the Marlins in July 2019 and during the abbreviated 2020 season, but he struggled toward the end of the 2020 postseason. He was diagnosed with the injury late in spring training and returned in September to pitch in six games.
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