Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

Justin Thompson, Pitcher for the Texas Rangers


WebMD Feature

NAME: Justin Thompson

TEAM: Texas Rangers

POSITION: Pitcher

INJURY: Torn rotator cuff on pitching arm

OTHER ATHLETES AFFECTED

Baseball: Eddie Perez, Atlanta Braves; Rodney Meyers, San Diego Padres; Dave Berg, Florida Marlins; Jamey Wright, Milwaukee Brewers

In the last 15 years, at least two other pitchers have had two shoulder surgeries within a year and come back to pitch successfully in the majors -- Bret Saberhagen and Mark Leiter.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Rangers left-hander Justin Thompson had surgery on August 27 last year -- while he was with the Detroit Tigers -- to repair tears in the edge of the shoulder joint socket and smooth out fraying in the rotator cuff.

Thompson felt no pain until he was in the final stages of his rehabilitation from the initial surgery. He went through spring training and through three minor league rehabilitation starts before experiencing any abnormal pain over and above the usual stress from conditioning. On April 25, in what was supposed to be his final rehab start before returning to the active roster, he threw more than 100 pitches for the first time. He felt significant fatigue after that outing. In every successive attempt to throw off the mound, the pain increased. Still, he was recalled from a medical rehab May 1 in the minor leagues, and appeared close to joining the Rangers until he continued to have soreness in his left shoulder.

Thompson underwent additional surgery on May 12 to repair the tear in his left rotator cuff. The decision for more surgery on Thompson's pitching shoulder was made May 10 after an MRI and examination by orthopaedist James Andrews, MD, in Birmingham, Ala.

PLAYER BIO

Thompson made his major league debut with the Tigers on May 27, 1996. Since then, he has won 36 games and lost 43, with an ERA of 3.98. He has struck out 427 batters in 647 innings. He led the club in innings pitched, strikeouts, and complete games in 1997 and 1998. He was tops in the AL with 12 pickoffs in 1998.

The southpaw was 9-11 with a 5.11 ERA last year for the Tigers before going down with the rotator cuff injury on August 27. Thompson was part of the nine-player deal that sent Juan Gonzalez to Detroit before the 2000 season. He has yet to pitch for the Rangers.

WHAT'S INVOLVED IN A TORN ROTATOR CUFF?

The rotator cuff is a set of four muscles that motor the shoulder joint. These muscles originate from the shoulder blade (scapula) and turn into fibrous tendons as they approach the outer aspect of the shoulder. These four tendons surround the front, top, and back of the shoulder joint. When the rotator cuff muscles contract, they pull on the rotator cuff tendons, allowing the shoulder to move through a wide range of motion.

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

Wet feet on shower floor tile
Slideshow
Flat Abs
Slideshow
 
Build a Better Butt Slideshow
Slideshow
woman using ice pack
Quiz
 

man exercising
Article
7 most effective exercises
Interactive
 
Man looking at watch before workout
Slideshow
Overweight man sitting on park bench
Video
 

pilates instructor
Slideshow
jogger running among flowering plants
Video
 
woman walking
Article
Taylor Lautner
Article