Blue Jays’ Dermody ‘way ahead of schedule’ in Tommy John recovery

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo joins Blair and Brunt to discuss his decision to name Marcus Stroman opening day starter, and how he sees the rest of the rotation lining up behind him.

By Tom Stewart
Centennial College

DUNEDIN, Fla. – Three words that pitchers fear the most: Tommy John surgery.

The timetable for recovery can take up to 15 months, and the prospect of re-aggravation has plagued the confidence and careers of players for decades.

This, however, is not a concern held by the Toronto Blue Jays’ rehab pitching coach Darold Knowles when it comes to reliever Matt Dermody.

“He’s way ahead of schedule,” Knowles said of the timetable for the lefty’s return. “Actually, we kind of have to back him off a little bit.”

Dermody, who underwent the elbow surgery successfully last May, missed the bulk of the 2018 season. It was the first major surgery of the 28-year old left-hander’s professional career.

“The mental side has a big impact,” Dermody said at the Jays’ minor league complex. “It was my first time being injured, so it was a new experience for me, not being around the guys that you’re normally with on a daily basis.”

It wasn’t until four months after his surgery that Dermody would be able to pick up a baseball again, but he claims the results of the procedure were instantly palpable.

“That first week was a little weird. You don’t really know how it’s going to feel but I would say, overall, that first month it felt amazing. It was like day and night,” he said.

Dermody said his rehabilitation has progressed exceedingly well, but understands “it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Some days you’ll feel good, and you want to (throw harder), but your body isn’t ready for it yet.

“Goal No. 1 is just staying healthy, not trying to do too much right now, staying within the timeframes that have been set out for me.”

The native of Norwalk, Iowa, drafted by the Blue Jays in the 28th round in 2013 out of the University of Iowa, pitched in 28 games for Toronto during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, going 2-0 with a 5.33 earned-run average and 20 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings.

Barring any setbacks, Knowles projects Dermody to be back and contributing for the Jays’ triple-A Buffalo Bisons in early May and says if things go well for him he could find himself back in Toronto before year’s end.

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