BALTIMORE -- As scheduled, Blue Jays reliever Tim Mayza underwent Tommy John reconstructive surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow on Wednesday afternoon in Dallas with Dr. Keith Meister.
What wasn’t expected was the additional information the operation revealed, especially given its rarity.
Mayza was found to have also sustained a Grade 3 tear of his left flexor tendon, an ailment that, when compounded with the Tommy John surgery, will keep him from returning to action until Spring Training of 2021. The general timeline for the procedure alone is 12-13 months. This revelation will add around five to six months of recovery.
Blue Jays head trainer Nikki Huffman made the announcement alongside manager Charlie Montoyo on Wednesday afternoon.
“The flexor tendon repair was a complete tear, so that’s kind of why you saw the dramatic drop and all that,” Huffman said of Mayza’s pain-filled fall to the ground on a 3-2 pitch to Didi Gregorius on Saturday vs. the Yankees. “When you see a complete tear is not common to see both. … You’ll see a complete UCL [tear] with maybe a Grade 1 flexor [tear] … so that’s why that timeline is a little bit longer instead of opening up the potential of next year. It’s for sure Spring Training 2021.”
“It’s unfortunate,” Mayza said on Sunday, “but it’s fortunate to have guys who have gone through the surgery in the clubhouse. Talking to them, I understand that the process in the rehab is going to be long and it’s going to be tedious. I’m confident that I’m going to be able to get through it successfully and come back strong.”
The confidence that Mayza will indeed "come back strong" extends to the Blue Jays' clubhouse. Medically, Huffman pointed to the fact that the 27-year-old Mayza has never faced a serious ailment and is relatively young, meaning his body can readjust better now than it could in five years.
“He’s actually never had an MRI in his life,” Huffman said. “That was his first one.”
But the last tidbit that gives the Blue Jays confidence is that “he’s just hardworking, resilient, dedicated and never makes excuses,” Huffman said. It’s become a belief so widespread that hordes of Blue Jays players and staffers eagerly awaited an update on Mayza's health on Saturday.
“Never seen that many people in the training room,” Huffman said. “That just speaks to the kind of person that he is more than anything I can say."
“Everybody loves Timmy Mayza," Montoyo added Saturday.
A 12th-round Draft pick in 2013, Mayza made 68 appearances for the Blue Jays this season -- 15 more than the next-closest reliever, Derek Law. Mayza posted a 4.91 ERA with 55 strikeouts over 51 1/3 innings in '19, after crafting a 3.28 ERA across 37 appearances last season.
The Blue Jays added an arm to their system on Wednesday afternoon, claiming relief pitcher Ryan Dull off waivers from the Yankees. The 29-year-old Dull appeared in 10 games for New York and Oakland this season, pitching to a 13.50 ERA with four homers allowed in 11 1/3 innings.