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David Price is getting a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, which usually doesn’t end well

We think we know what a second opinion on a pitcher’s elbow means, but are we right to speculate?

Division Series - Boston Red Sox v Cleveland Indians - Game Two Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

David Price has forearm tightness, he’s had an MRI, and he’s scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion. That’s all three acts of the elbow horror movie, and there usually isn’t a twist ending. This usually doesn’t end with Andrews discovering the map to a lost continent in Price’s elbow. The next piece of news is almost always Tommy John surgery.

Or is it? That’s just a hunch, and while I’m not a talented enough journalist to run a Lexus-Nutella search and track down every single time Andrews has been called for a second opinion, I’m pretty good with the Google, and it’s probably worthwhile to see how many second opinions don’t lead to Tommy John.

Four notes:

  • This is not supposed to reflect on Dr. Andrews. Players also see Dr. Neal ElAttrache and other doctors with less interesting names. Every situation is different. Still, the phrase “second opinion” is closely associated with Dr. Andrews, and this is an unscientific look to see if there’s a reason why we often jump to conclusions.
  • I’m looking at pitchers only, so Carlos Beltran and Adam Eaton do not apply
  • Only pitchers who had second opinions on their elbows will be included, not the pitchers with shoulder problems
  • This is not an exhaustive list. This is just what I could find through Google and Twitter searches, which is why the list is heavily weighted toward more recent injuries.

Here is what happened to the pitchers who’ve had Dr. James Andrews take a second look at their elbows recently:

The second opinions of Dr. James Andrews

Date Player Result Second-opinion source
Date Player Result Second-opinion source
4/9/12 Drew Storen Bone fragment surgery, returned in July
6/15/12 Kyle Drabek Tommy John
4/23/13 Dylan Bundy Tommy John
5/9/13 Joel Hanrahan Tommy John
8/22/13 Jeremy Hefner Tommy John
9/16/13 Matt Harvey Tommy John
3/11/14 Kris Medlen Tommy John
3/17/14 Brandon Beachy Tommy John
3/17/14 Patrick Corbin Tommy John
3/29/14 David Hernandez Tommy John
4/9/14 Matt Moore Tommy John
4/15/14 Josh Johnson Tommy John
4/23/14 Ivan Nova Tommy John
5/22/14 Luke Putkonen Bone spur surgery, out for season
5/22/14 Matt Purke Tommy John
6/17/14 Derek Law Tommy John
7/29/14 Matt Cain Bone fragment surgery, out for season
3/9/15 Cliff Lee Rest and rehab, unofficially retired
3/10/15 Tim Collins Tommy John
3/12/15 Yu Darvish Tommy John
3/15/15 Josh Edgin Tommy John
4/14/15 Brandon Workman Tommy John
5/4/15 Adam Ottavino Tommy John
5/10/15 Nick Kingham Tommy John
5/14/15 Hunter Harvey Rest and rehab, followed by Tommy John
5/26/15 Branden Kline PRP injection, followed by Tommy John
7/17/15 Clay Buchholz PRP injection, out for season
7/27/15 Casey Sadler PRP injection, followed by Tommy John
8/3/15 Parker Bridwell Rest and rehab, out for season
3/3/16 Jesus Luzardo Tommy John
3/5/16 Andrew McKirahan Tommy John
3/8/16 Carter Capps Tommy John
4/24/16 Branden Pinder Tommy John
5/6/16 Garrett Richards Rest and rehab, out for season
2/15/17 Alex Reyes Tommy John

If you want to break out the Dumb and Dumber quote about there being a chance that David Price just needs a little rest and rehabilitation, now’s the time. There is a chance. Don’t write his 2017 season off yet.

But, no. It does not look good. If you have a sense of impending doom when you hear the words “Dr. James Andrews” and “second opinion” — or any doctor providing a second opinion on an elbow — your fears are justified.

You knew this, but here’s a sample of previous cases just in case you needed evidence.