Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Tim Mayza is undergoing a follow-up test on his injured arm out of an “abundance of caution,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. The results so far came back with reasons for cautious optimism, indicating the inflammation was isolated to the forearm and there was no structural damage.
It is not known when, exactly, Mayza sustained the injury — which isn’t uncommon for injuries of its kind as, often, the cause of the inflammation stems from repetitive use and cumulative strain instead of a single event.
The Blue Jays placed Mayza on the 15-day injured last on Tuesday as he underwent additional tests, including an MRI, and there remains no projected timeline for when he may return to the lineup.
Still, while additional tests could uncover further damage, the inflammation being confined to his forearm — instead of extending to his elbow — as well as the MRI showing no signs of structural damage are positive developments in Mayza’s bid for a healthy return.
Injuries like Mayza’s are troublesome for pitchers, whose day-to-day actions place extreme stress on the elbow. This stress, Johns Hopkins University says, is absorbed by the ligaments and tendons and, as a result, can lead to tendinitis around the elbow and in the forearm.
The most common ligament injured by pitchers is the ulnar collateral ligament. If it is damaged significantly enough, it can require a full reconstruction, better known as Tommy John Surgery — a procedure that involves harvesting a tendon from a patient’s body, or from a donor, and attaching it to act as a new UCL.
Damage to the elbow and the UCL is typically assessed with an MRI, according to the American Orthopaedic Association, like what Mayza had — which, in his case, did not uncover structural issues.
Forearm swelling, though markedly less severe than UCL damage, can still be debilitating, and can impact a person’s ability to grip objects, in addition to causing pain.
Recovery timelines for forearm swelling vary significantly. For minor cases, with a few days of rest, the issue can be resolved after two or three weeks — a timeline that aligns with Mayza being placed on the 15-day injured list. More severe cases can take several weeks or months to heal and can, if the tendinitis is bad enough, require surgery. At this time, that does not appear to be the case for Mayza.
Mayza’s absence, for any period of time, will be a challenge to navigate for the Blue Jays. He has been among their more stable options on the mound this season. In 15 games, he has posted a 2-0 record, 2.08 ERA and 13 strikeouts.