Dodgers Team News

Dodgers’ Emmet Sheehan Faces Tommy John Rehab With Optimism

The Dodgers will be without Emmet Sheehan for the next 13 months. It could have been worse.

For most of the last few decades, pitchers with a torn ulnar collateral ligament could pencil in a 12-to-18 month recovery from Tommy John surgery. Monday, Sheehan revealed the diagnosis that led to his decision last week to have the season-ending Tommy John procedure along with an internal brace.

That last detail — the internal brace — is key. Shohei Ohtani had the same procedure last September. So did former Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill. As of last October, only five pitchers were documented to have had the procedure, according to FanGraphs. Monday, Sheehan said the internal brace is “I’m sure pretty standard now.”

The hastened recovery time amounts to a silver lining within a dark cloud for the Dodgers’ rotation. Sheehan entered his sophomore season as a quality depth piece for a rebuilt rotation. Last year, Sheehan was a surprise call-up from Double-A to bail out an injury depleted rotation. Sheehan started 11 games, relieved two more, and went 4-1 with a 4.92 ERA.

From nearly the outset of spring training, injuries were an impediment to Sheehan’s progress. The 2021 sixth-round draft pick said he had a forearm discomfort as well as an oblique strain in spring training. He tried to get through it without surgery, but the diagnosis of a torn UCL made the path forward clear. Sheehan said he made the decision to have surgery Monday then had the procedure Wednesday.

Compared to pitchers in years past, Sheehan sounded downright optimistic about his prognosis. Still just 24, Sheehan can look ahead and imagine the majority of a major league career firmly in his future.

“Definitely easier now than it would’ve been than 20, 30 years ago,” he said. “It’s a lot more common now. They have a lot more experience rehabbing this type of thing. Definitely good to be around people who have that experience. I haven’t been through a rehab that long but I know what it looks like. Not too scary.”

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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JP Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra writes and edits Major League Baseball content for and is the author of 'The 50 Greatest Dodger Games Of All Time.' He once recorded a keyboard solo on the same album as two of the original Doors. Follow at

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