Junior to miss remainder of 2016 season
By JAMES MORAN
Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Alden Cartwright’s season is over.
The junior right-hander will undergo Tommy John surgery next week after an MRI Tuesday revealed a 100 percent tear of his UCL. He suffered the injury during a relief sting Sunday at Auburn.
“I kind of knew it was coming,” Cartwright said Tuesday. “I knew at Auburn that it popped. I knew it wasn’t good, and Dr. Field knew before the MRI that it wasn’t good … If I want to play baseball again, I’m going to need Tommy John surgery. I’m not giving it up.”
Paul Mainieri returned from his monthly luncheon and received the news via text message from trainer Cory Couture. He walked inside and found Cartwright waiting in his office.
“All I could do was hug him and tell him how sorry I was for his sake,” Mainieri said.
Typically, the recovery time for a pitch after undergoing Tommy John is right around 11-12 months, assuming no setbacks. He’ll target the start of Southeastern Conference next season for a possible return “and take it day by day after that.”
The news doesn’t necessarily mean 2016 is a lost season for Cartwright. He’ll apply for a medical redshirt after the season — if granted, he’d return with two years of eligibility remaining — and Mainieri commented that “absolutely qualifies for a medical redshirt.” He could then pitch in 2018 as a graduate student.
Per NCAA rules, a student athlete has to meet the following criteria:
– The injury must be season ending.
– The injury must occur prior to the start of the season half of the season.
– The student-athlete must not have competed in more than 30% of the season or three contests, whichever is greater.
Cartwright made 11 appearances this season with his last one coming in game No. 27 of a 56 game schedule. Both metrics fall within the NCAA guidelines.
“He clearly qualifies for that,” Mainieri said. “But we don’t submit the paperwork for that until after the season is over even though he’ll have the surgery.”
For more on Tommy John surgery, here’s an entry from WebMD.