I hope everyone enjoyed the first two blogs about Bregman and LMJ. The encouraging thing about those two is we anticipate them being full go when the Astros report back to West Palm Beach in February. This is not the case for our next subject, Jake Meyers. This one really stings. Jake is such a promising young player and this injury is going to end up costing him the first couple months of the season.
As always first a disclaimer: This is all speculation. I can give my opinion on a situation but there are times I will be dead wrong. Evaluating an athlete in front of you can be difficult at times, so doing it from in front of a screen is next to impossible. But I think I can give you an informed opinion/a rough estimation of what to expect regarding severity and recovery time for a given injury. Again: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I WILL BE WRONG. When I get something wrong I will be the first person to admit it.
This injury is also the first one we have reviewed on the blog where we saw how it happened. In the sports medicine world we call this the MOI or mechanism of injury. I think the best way to analyze this injury is to review the video, both of the injury, and the events immediately after. Here is the link to the video:
First thing I want to note is at :26. When Jeremiah Randall, the Astros head AT, reaches center field Michael Brantley immediately whispers something in his ear. In 2015, Michael Brantley injured his right shoulder trying to make a play in the gap and eventually needed over a year and multiple surgeries to return to his normal self. So he some experience with this type of situation.
:34 Here is our first replay of Jake hitting the wall. See his left arm hit the wall, and get caught underneath his body as his momentum drives his shoulder farther across his body. Now I believe he suffered a posterior subluxation of his shoulder here. This means his shoulder came out of socket towards his back, and then popped itself back in. Your joints want to be in socket, and often go back in on their own.
Fast forward to 1:12. Now this about 5 minutes in real time after the injury and Jake is trying to throw to test his arm and stay in the game. One interesting note: Jake is one of the very few that bats right and throws left. Not a combo seen often. This will be important later. However when talking with Randall, Carlos Correa, Brantley, Kyle Tucker, and Dusty Baker it appears he says “I can’t ******* throw." And Dusty call Chas McCormick from the dugout to replace Meyers.
1:29 Jake and Dusty are talking as they’re walking back to the dugout. And I think he says “When I hit the wall my shoulder came out.” This might be wrong. Again, we’re playing a speculation game here.
In the aftermath of the Astros advancing the ALCS, it is reported that Meyers is improving and could be on the roster and is eventually put on the roster. On October 19th he is in the lineup! A great and speedy recovery. A couple hours later, he is scratched. It is said he had a setback and would not be available and is the left off the World Series roster. Eventually Jake has surgery for a torn labrum on November 11th by Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas. Dr Meister is one of the most respected orthopedic surgeons in the country. He has operated on Justin Verlander, Kendall Graveman, Tyler Glasnow, Kenta Maeda, and innumerable other MLB players from across the league.
The labrum is a circular piece of tissue that provides more stability to the shoulder joint. (The shoulder is actually 3 separate joints. The area we commonly think of as the shoulder is the glenohumeral joint (GH) joint). The glenoid (part of your shoulder blade) and humerus (funny bone) do not really fit together well. The labrum helps it fit a bit better.
Okay it is now time to really speculate here. Put on your tin foil hats for this paragraph. I think the labrum tear that Jake suffered did not happen during ALDS game 4. If it had I do not believe he would have been on the ALCS roster. It is possible to throw with a torn labrum, but that recovery times takes longer than 2-3 weeks. I think the labrum tear happened shortly before ALCS game 4. Dusty said before game 5 that Meyers was “worse off now than he was before”. Again this is complete speculation but his shoulder may have come out again before game 4, and that is when he suffered the tear. I believe he suffered a posterior (toward the back) labrum tear. “Batter’s shoulder” is a tear to the posterior labrum on the front side shoulder from swinging. Between increased stress while swinging, plus Jake throwing with his left side, Jake’s rehab will be more complex and lengthy than a right shoulder injury would be for Jake.
So we know what the injury is, lets talk about recovery time. Dr. Meister publishes his post-surgical rehab protocols on his website so we can get a really good idea of how long Jake will be restricted. Jake is going to be in a sling for 4 weeks. He will start range of motion and strengthening exercises immediately but will be restricted on how much he can do until around 8 weeks. Jake will probably not start swinging until 12 weeks from surgery. This falls on February 3rd. A throwing program can start at 16 weeks, March 3rd. I’d expect a throwing program to last 8-12 weeks before Jake can make all the throws he needs to make at 100%. This put Jake Meyers return to game action, probably a minor league rehab start somewhere between April 28th-May 26th. This is assuming no rehab setbacks and Jake responding well the everything the sports medicine staff throws at him. I would not plan on seeing Jake Meyers manning center field for the Astros until somewhere between the middle of May or early June.
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