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Dodgers' Dustin May: 'You have no idea' how frustrating injuries have been

Bill Plunkett, The Orange County Register on

Published in Baseball

GLENDALE, Ariz. – These have been trying times for Dustin May.

“You have no idea,” the 26-year-old right-hander said with all the weariness that two major elbow surgeries 26 months apart will bring.

“It was definitely not what I wanted to hear when I heard that I needed surgery again. … You can understand the first one. It’s, ‘Okay, I’m going to go get fixed and then I’m going to be fine and I’ll be able to stay healthy and compete.’ Then as soon as I get back basically, the same thing happens again. It’s just a gut-wrenching feeling. It’s like the rug keeps getting pulled out from under my feet. All I want to do is go and compete and I keep being told I can’t.”

May was just 23 innings into his 2021 season when the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow gave out. He had Tommy John surgery on May 12

Fifteen months later, he was on a big-league mound again and pitched 30 innings over the final weeks of the 2022 season. But May says now he was never really right.

“No. I wouldn’t say that I ever felt more than probably 75 percent,” he said.

 

“It hurt every throw. Everybody always says it always hurts (after Tommy John surgery) and then one day it just clicks. I was waiting for that. Mine – instead of getting better, it kept getting worse and getting worse. It kept climbing in the wrong direction and it got to a point where my last game it was affecting my velo(city) so much I was like, ‘Alright, I’d better say something.’ I didn’t even need to say something. They were like, ‘Are you okay because you’re throwing 93?’”

An MRI revealed damage to the flexor-pronator mass in his elbow. Repairing it required another surgery and likely another 12 months of tedious rehab. While May was undergoing surgery for the flexor repair, the doctors also put a graft on his repaired UCL.

“I was definitely very frustrated, especially in LA after I got my MRI results,” May said. “I was very frustrated just in the moment. Then it was like – it took me a day and then I was, ‘What am I mad about? I can’t do anything about this. This is the cards I’ve been dealt. I’ve got to go do what I gotta do and hopefully be back whenever I can.’”

May said he has asked a lot more questions this time around – “I’ve got a good understanding and grasp of how the elbow works and what it’s supposed to feel like after the second one.”

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