The Norman Transcript

National Sports

July 14, 2014

For some, surgery before majors

MINNEAPOLIS — Sitting in the Minnesota Twins locker room Sunday surrounded by many of the most promising minor leaguers, Christian Binford remembered back five years ago, when he was a 10th grader pitching for the Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania.

Up to the plate walked some stud on the other team who was good enough to attract 10-20 scouts.

“I’m going to try to one-up this guy,” Binford recalled thinking. “I had terrible mechanics. I was just trying to throw as hard as I could, and I didn’t know any better. I was having a great game up until that one pitch.”

That pitch altered his life.

“It popped. I could hear it,” he said. “I had no idea what the sound was at the time. I thought I just pulled a muscle. I took three days off and tried to throw, and I couldn’t make it to 90 feet. The ball just didn’t go anywhere. So I had an MRI, and it was completely torn.”

Just 16 at the time, Binford joined the list of Tommy John surgery alumni.

Elbow ligament-replacement surgery isn’t just for big leaguers these days. More than two dozen major leaguers have had the elbow ligament replacement operation in the last year, a group that includes Miami’s Jose Fernandez, the New York Mets’ Matt Harvey and Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore. New York Yankees star Masahiro Tanaka has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and may need the procedure.

At least three players at the All-Star Futures game already had the surgery: Binford, a Double-A right-hander in the Kanas City Royals organization, was joined by Lucas Giolito, a Class A righty with the Washington Nationals who was the 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft, and Steven Moya, a Double-A outfielder with the Detroit Tigers.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Indians trade Justin Masterson to Cardinals

    CLEVELAND — The Indians had little choice but to give up Justin Masterson. The trade doesn’t mean they’re going to surrender the season....

    July 31, 2014

  • Cowboys sign tackle Smith to 8-year extension

    OXNARD, Calif. — Tyron Smith has a new contract that will probably make him the most important blocker for the next Dallas quarterback after Tony Romo....

    July 31, 2014

  • Quarterback questions abound with big stars gone from SEC offenses

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Quarterback battles and signal-caller questions abound in the Southeastern Conference going into preseason camps around the league. Big names, not so much....

    July 31, 2014

  • Jones says Brent out of rehab, NFL question next

    OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says former defensive tackle Josh Brent is out of rehabilitation and could have his future with the NFL resolved before the team leaves training camp in California in two weeks....

    July 31, 2014

  • Ives to crew chief for Dale Jr. in 2015

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There was no shortage of candidates to replace Steve Letarte as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief The list of applicants was long, but Hendrick Motorsports has always liked to groom its own talent. So the organization ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Gustafson wants Gordon’s team focused on Chase

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jeff Gordon viewed his Brickyard 400 win as a turning point for his race team. Confidence had been building with every strong run, but his victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway pushed his crew to another level. It was ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Mercury not thinking streak

    Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury are closing in on one of the greatest records in WNBA history, the Los Angeles Sparks’ 18-game winning streak. To equal that mark, the Mercury need to win two more games, starting with defending ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Hamlin crew chief out 6 races

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR suspended Denny Hamlin’s crew chief and car chief on Tuesday for six races because the Joe Gibbs Racing entry failed inspection following his third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Darian Grubb and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Bell focuses on every facet of his game

    LATROBE, Pa. — Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw....

    July 30, 2014

  • Sam factor may ready Rams for sensitivity class

    ST. LOUIS — To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp....

    July 30, 2014