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#pounditMonday, September 26, 2022

Pedro Martinez called it that Casey Mize would need Tommy John surgery

Pedro Martinez smiles

Jul 20, 2019; Cooperstown, NY, USA; Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez arrives at the National Baseball Hall of Fame during the Parade of Legends. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the Detroit Tigers announced that starter Casey Mize would undergo Tommy John Surgery and may not return until 2024. And while that came as a shock to many, Pedro Martinez was not among those caught off guard.

All the way back in 2020, Martinez recognized that Mize’s combination of size and mechanics could become a problem. He postulated that if the Tigers didn’t fix Mize’s throwing motion, a major injury would be forthcoming.

“The fact that he has a little hitch in his shoulder, he’s not fully extended and he throws that nasty split finger could scare anybody,” Martinez told MLB Network at the time. “If the Detroit Tigers don’t emphasize a lot on his mechanics and clean up his release point with that kind of pitch, you’re probably looking at a guy that’s going to get hurt.”

As a rookie, Mize threw his splitter about 18 percent of the time. And while that number dipped in the years following, his throwing motion didn’t change. As a result, constant pressure was being put on his elbow.

“And for a guy that flies open, normally that will cause stress on your elbow — and you know what comes next,” Martinez forecast.

Unfortunately for the Tigers and Mize, they did not heed Martinez’s warning. And although Mize avoided a full UCL tear, he did stretch it out significantly enough that it lost all elasticity and required reparative surgery.

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