The Kansas City Royals announced today that they have placed left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas on the 15-day disabled list with a left ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear. To take his place on the 25-man roster, the Royals have recalled right-handed pitcher Yordano Ventura from Triple-A Omaha.
This is the third DL stint for Vargas this season, having already been on the DL twice because of a left flexor strain.
Ventura, the Royals’ Opening Day starter is 4-7 with a 5.19 ERA this year.
What are the treatment options for Vargas?
This comes from HoustonMethodist.org
Many athletes with elbow instability from UCL injury can be treated successfully with rehabilitation and without invasive procedures. At first, symptoms may be treated with rest and/or activity modification (fewer pitches per game, per practice, per day). The athlete’s posture, strength, and release of the ball must be analyzed and corrected. The use of curve balls should be avoided during the early phases of rehabilitation.
Antiinflammatory drugs and analgesics may be used to reduce pain and inflammation. Icing may help but must be used with caution. Too much cold can cause a worsening of the swelling as the body sends more blood to the area to warm things up. And cold can be an irritant to the already damaged (and irritated) nerve.
Many athletes are able to return to play without further treatment. If conservative (nonoperative) care does not change the picture, then surgery may be needed.
When the condition fails to respond to conservative care described above, surgery may be indicated. If pain is the primary symptom and there is no evidence that the elbow joint is grossly unstable, the surgeon may use anarthroscope (a tiny fiber-optic TV camera) to look inside the elbow and see the condition of the joint and the soft tissues. It may be possible to debride any tissue fragments or frayed edges. During debridement, the surgeon carefully cleans the area by removing any dead or damaged tissue. Any bone spurs or areas of calcium build-up are also removed.