Michael King feels “actually great” right now, but he will feel much better if he does not require an additional surgery.
King, the Yankees standout reliever, already went under the knife to repair his fractured right elbow, an injury suffered while throwing a pitch July 22 in Baltimore.
When King regains his full range of motion, doctors will check again on his arm to see if his UCL needs Tommy John surgery.
If a second procedure is called for, he almost certainly would be out all of next season, too. If not, and his bone solely needed to be repaired, the righty should be ready for the start of spring training.
“From the MRIs that I was able to get, it looked like the ligament was intact and pretty healthy,” King, speaking publicly for the first time since the surgery, said before the Yankees hosted the Rays on Monday.
His next MRI exam should be about three to six weeks away.
King said he is now watching road games on TV and called his setback “definitely disappointing.” The 27-year-old had emerged as one of the most valuable relievers in baseball, able to shut down opposing lineups for multiple innings. He posted a 2.29 ERA in 51 innings before he threw a pitch and heard a pop.
“I knew our bullpen needed some help, and I also felt like I was pitching well, so I wanted to throw through whatever soreness I was feeling,” said King, who went down about two months after Chad Green required Tommy John surgery. “There are so many times where I’ll throw through something for a week or two, and it totally goes away and I’m great. And unfortunately, this wasn’t those times.”
King has leaned upon Green and hopes the two recovering relievers can begin a throwing program together. He also was thankful for Matt Carpenter, who is trying to come back from a fractured foot and advised King to begin journaling “the little wins you have throughout the process because you’re going to have a lot of losses.”
If the worst is behind him, King can be full-go in February, but he won’t know until his next checkup.
“I’m obviously hoping I don’t need Tommy John,” King said. “I [hope I] just have weak bones, I need some more calcium or something.”