The Phillies signed Mike Adams to be a stabilizing force in the Phillies bullpen in the eighth inning. Now it appears the Phillies will return to instability for a significant period of time as it is looking more and more that Adams could require surgery that few have recovered from to the point that they pitched in the major leagues again. One must ask the question: could he have thrown his last pitch for the Phillies?
According to the Inquirer's Matt Gelb:
Amaro: Changes in Adams’ labrum could require surgery. Very concerned.— Matt Gelb (@magelb) June 25, 2013
The labrum is intergral to the shoulder and the ability to throw a baseball. This injury is serious. What is the labrum? Howard J. Luks, M.D. spells it out:
The labrum in the shoulder is a cartilage disc attached to the socket of the shoulder that aids in maintaining stability of the shoulder — so that the shoulder stays in its proper place. The labrum is firmly attached to the socket, and the shoulder ligaments which connect the bones of the shoulder together insert or attach to the labrum. Therefore, if I’m making myself clear, it should obvious that if a labral tear occurs,l the ligaments of the shoulder may no longer be functioning properly.
In an article on Men's Health Magazine entitled, "The Surgery That Will End Your Game", the prognosis is grim:
Shoulder surgery for a torn labrum—specifically the common “SLAP” tear—could permanently alter your range of motion, according to a study presented at the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting.
A torn labrum has been career-ending for many pitchers, and it is very rare that a player recovers from a torn labrum. It is so rare, that Jake Peavy's surgeon, Dr. Anthony Romeo, won an award for his work. But despite successes for his client Peavy and to the labrum surgery that helped create Pedro Martinez 2.0 and the late-years Kerry Wood, Romeo reflected on operations required to repair a torn labrum:
There’s only one problem: the operation often doesn’t work. “One-third of players still have shoulder pain after their operations,” says Dr. Romeo. “Others never get back their fastball or endurance.”
For one who did recover, Pedro Martinez, he hit the disabled list July 6, 2006. He did not pitch again until September 2007. With Adams' contract only valid through next season, it is conceivable that Adams may never pitch for the Phillies again.
Mike Adams, we may have hardly known ye.