Martin Perez plans to have surgery

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Add Martin Perez to the list.

The Texas Rangers' left-hander is the latest pitcher planning to have Tommy John elbow reconstructive surgery. Perez said Thursday he will opt to have the procedure instead of taking the more conservative route for the partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.

He could try to rehab the injury and return in 10 to 12 weeks, if it responds. If that was not successful, he would then have to have the surgery, which can have a recovery time of 12 to 18 months.

"I don't want to miss this year; I want to get out there and compete," Perez told reporters, according to The Dallas Morning News. "But I can't just think about this year. If I do the other option, I might not get back or the ligament might get hurt again. If I have the surgery, at this time next year, I can be back and doing what I was doing before -- helping the team.

"I feel bad, but I don't want to end up not being able to help the team all of next year, too."

Perez and his agent will meet with the Rangers on Friday to discuss all of the pitcher's options, but Perez said he believes surgery is the best way to ensure long-term health. 

Perez is the latest in a long line of pitchers who have been diagnosed with torn elbow ligaments requiring the surgery since the start of spring training.

They include:

 Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez

 Atlanta Braves right-handers Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy and Cory Gearrin

 Arizona Diamondbacks ace Patrick Corbin

 Oakland Athletics starters Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin

 Tampa Bay Rays All-Star Matt Moore

 New York Yankees starter Ivan Nova

 San Diego Padres starter Josh Johnson

 New York Mets closer Bobby Parnell

 Kansas City Royals setup man Luke Hochevar

 Detroit Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon

 Houston Astros reliever Jose Cisnero

 Top Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Jameson Taillon

The Mets' Matt Harvey and Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg are other All-Stars who have had the ligament-transplant operation in recent years.

On Thursday, baseball commissioner Bud Selig said he's personally concerned about the recent spate of Tommy John surgeries.

"I'm almost afraid to pick up the paper because of the bad news,'' Selig said. "I'm very worried over the fact that it's happening with so much regularity, over and over. We have some great young arms, and it's very sad.

"Let's see if we can find out some answers. Nobody has them, I'll tell you that -- including the doctors and trainers. Everybody you talk to has a different opinion.''

Perez, 23, signed a four-year, $12.5 million deal in November with team options through 2020.

He started the season 4-0 and pitched consecutive complete-game, three-hit shutouts. Then he lost three consecutive games and bore no resemblance to the pitcher who had dominated in April.

After his last start, he complained of elbow irritation.