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Yankees' Chad Green Opens Up About Tommy John Surgery

Green will undergo Tommy John surgery next week, ending his final season with the Yankees before he's set to enter free agency.
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NEW YORK — Like any pitcher in the big leagues, Chad Green always knew that someday, he might need Tommy John surgery.

Even with that understanding, as countless pitchers across the league undergo the procedure each year, Green never really thought about the possibility that it would actually happen to him.

That in mind, as the right-hander began to feel discomfort in his throwing arm last week—eventually exiting a relief appearance in Baltimore on Thursday with right forearm tightness—Green was well aware of the red flags, but didn't immediately consider the presence of a severe injury. 

It wasn't until Green woke up the next morning, feeling more pain, that he began to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

"I was like, 'maybe it's just some inflammation because the initial tests weren't too far off of how I normally feel,'" Green said at his locker on Monday afternoon, one day after it was announced he'll undergo Tommy John surgery. "I was just pretty sore in one area. But then, I was kind of worried the next day when I got up and it didn't feel any better and almost worse than it has in the past six years or so. That's when I got probably a little nervous."

After seeking out a few opinions from doctors and weighing his options, it was clear that Tommy John surgery was Green's next step, brutal timing for a veteran set to enter free agency after this season.

"How well we're playing, how fun it is to play here right now, what a great group it is, to come to the point where you know you're not going to be a part of it is tough," Green explained. "You feel like you're letting people down, but I'll try to be here as much as I can and just watch and cheer and just go from there."

Green, who turned 31 on Tuesday, walked through the official diagnosis, revealing that while he will undergo a traditional Tommy John procedure—repairing his ulnar collateral ligament—he actually has a flexor tear.

"While that needs to be fixed, it's better off to just clean everything out at the same time," he said.

The procedure, the first step in a lengthy rehab and recovery process for the right-hander, is scheduled for some time next week. He'll be the third member of New York's pitching staff to undergo the procedure in the last eight months. Left-hander Zack Britton underwent Tommy John surgery last September while prospect Luis Gil went through the same procedure on Tuesday

READ: What Chad Green's Elbow Injury Means For Yankees' Bullpen

As much as Green's injury comes at an awful time in the landscape of his career, impacting his ability to secure a substantial contract in free agency, it's also a significant blow for New York's bullpen.

Green has been one of the best and most consistent relievers in baseball since his first full season in 2017, posting a 2.96 ERA over 260 games while producing in a variety of roles. Before his injury, Green had a 3.00 ERA over his first 14 appearances of the 2022 season, a key representative in the back end of New York's bullpen, a unit that's now facing adversity as the second month of the season comes to a close. 

"I think everything happens for a reason," Green said. "I think that's kind of been my whole career, whether it was getting sent down to '19 for a couple of weeks and getting a lot better because of that. So I try not to look at it like that, like 'oh, you're losing your one chance [at free agency]' or something. I'm thinking this could be a chance to rehab for an extended period of time and come back being better than ever."


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