Corey Knebel, a pitcher and reliever for the Milwaukee Brewers, announced that he will miss the 2019 Major League Baseball season because he plans to repair an injury. Knebel has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament that damaged his right elbow, and to fix his arm, he will be undergoing Tommy John surgery, according to Sporting News.
Just hours prior to his team’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park, Knebel made his surgery decision public. While professional baseball players don’t typically tell the media about their surgery decisions, Knebel had a different perspective on why he took this approach. Since it was left up to Knebel to make his own decision about the surgery, it seemed fitting to also allow the pitcher to announce his choice.
“I decided to go with surgery,” Knebel said, according to ESPN. “It’s just going to be better to do it now and come back next year.”
Knebel realized he might have to undergo Tommy John surgery when he continued to have problems with his arm during spring training. In an attempt to figure out how to repair his injury, he talked to several doctors and collected a variety of opinions from medical experts.
However, no matter what medical professional he approached, he constantly heard the same assessment about his arm. Knebel was told he had a decision to make. The pitcher would either have to complete the Tommy John surgery or take time off and try to return later in the season. Eventually, Knebel realized that if he rested his arm and returned after some time, he would probably have to undergo the surgery, anyway. Instead of wasting time, Knebel picked surgery.
Knebel says that both the doctors he visited and his team told him the choice was his, and he did think about his options for a few weeks. Making the decision to sit out one full season to complete the Tommy John surgery was very difficult for the pitcher.
“I’ve had the information now for a week,” Knebel said, according to ESPN. “I couldn’t just decide right away. It sucked that it was my decision. I hated that. I really wish the doctor would have just said, ‘here is what we’re doing.’ The fact is, everyone was saying the same thing. It was my decision, up to me. That’s what made it tough.”
Knebel is scheduled to have his surgery completed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Wednesday. After the surgery is done, the pitcher will be undergoing rehabilitation at his team’s facility in Maryvale, which is a village in Phoenix, Arizona.