It’s usually not a good thing when a surgeon becomes a household name among a team’s fanbase. This is becoming the case for the Detroit Tigers, who announced that both Christin Stewart and Jordan Zimmermann underwent core muscle repair surgery with Dr. William Meyers, a specialist in Philadelphia. Dr. Meyers has operated on several Tigers in recent years, including Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Justin Verlander.
The surgery isn’t a huge surprise for Stewart, who missed the final few games of the regular season with an abdominal injury. It’s an unfortunate blow, however, as Stewart hit .267/.375/.417 in 17 September games before missing the last series of the year. Zimmermann, on the other hand, was more of a surprise. He did not miss any time due to injury over the final three months of the year.
While both players are expected to be ready for spring training, we have seen firsthand how long it can take for a player to truly recover from this procedure. Verlander was particularly outspoken after his surgery, saying it took him a full year to feel like his normal self again. He was not very complementary of the Tigers’ training staff in an interview with Bleacher Report earlier this year, instead crediting an independent physical therapist as a key part of his recovery.
Hopefully the added time between surgery and return to play — Verlander’s surgery was in January of 2014 — makes a difference. Stewart, our No. 9 prospect in the Tigers system, will likely be the team’s starting left fielder in 2019. He isn’t the most explosive player in the field or on the basepaths, but a core muscle injury can also affect a player’s swing and ability to make solid contact. For a young player entering his first full major league season, this is a big setback, even if he doesn’t miss any actual playing time.
While Zimmermann is an established veteran, he has dealt with a number of injuries since arriving in Detroit. Adding one more to the list is never a good thing.