The Dr. James Andrews Kiss of Death

Image courtesy of Fast Company

For pitchers who have sustained an injury, it’s basically the equivalent of visiting the Grim Reaper. There’s no question he’s one of the best at what he does, but a visit to Dr. James Andrews is never a good sign.

Frank Francisco will be the latest member of the Blue Jays to be checked out by Andrews later this week, and it just adds to the list of injuries sustained this spring by players on the roster.

Even though Francisco’s MRI came back negative this past Friday, there’s such a negative stigma associated with Dr. James Andrews that I can’t help but think the worst.


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And frankly when it comes to visiting Andrews, the news hasn’t been very kind to the Blue Jays these past few years. Just think back to Jesse Litsch, Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan, and B.J. Ryan among others.

It’s the proverbial kiss of death and almost always a precursor for major surgery, and most commonly results in Tommy John surgery.

If that’s the case for Frank Francisco, you can basically forget seeing him in a Blue Jays uniform in 2011. It’s a shame because Alex Anthopoulos had to give up a prime player in Mike Napoli to bring in Francisco.

I realize I’m speaking like things are already over before they have even begun, but it’s not a promising start to the season when so many of the relievers like Frank Francisco and Octavio Dotel will already be on the shelf come Opening Day.

Essentially, I’m treating Frank Francisco’s injury as if it’s a worst case scenario. Thankfully there are plenty of relievers who can step in and take his place if need be. In retrospect, Alex Anthopoulos’ moves to acquire a surplus of right-handed relievers may have been a sound strategy after all.

And to Dr. James Andrews, you’re a magnificent doctor and have allowed pitchers to enjoy long and fruitful careers after sustaining major injuries. You give them a second chance at glory where in previous eras those pitchers may not have.

However, I hope no member of the Blue Jays roster ever gets mentioned in the same sentence as “Dr. James Andrews” ever again.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

7 thoughts on “The Dr. James Andrews Kiss of Death

  • March 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm
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    Andrew Bailey went to see him this week (after an on-field injury that looked very bad) and came back with only a "strained forearm" diagnosis. Hope!

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  • March 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm
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    I was looking forward for the new BJH posting to read this. Snowing Monday…great news barron :p

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  • March 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm
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    Drew, well at least that's a little promising. I can't remember many instances where the initial consultations didn't result in TJ or other major surgery. Here's hoping!

    dalecon, I guess the news fits with the weather. Way to kick off spring with some uplifting Blue Jays news, eh?

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  • March 22, 2011 at 2:44 am
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    I'm hoping this isn't a "pectoral injury" the way BJ Ryan's elbow was "back stiffness". Partly because I'd like to see Francisco pitch this year, but mostly because I don't want to see the Anthopoulos regime start feeding us lies the way the Ricciardi regime did.

    That aside, I'm not TOO worried. Francisco has value, but it's not like he's as key as (I shudder to even think it) Morrow or Drabek or Romero. And bear in mind, FF claims to have minor aches every spring, for what that's worth.

    So I hope he's healthy, but I won't lose any sleep if he isn't.

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  • March 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm
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    Robbie, I also hope they're not playing down this injury and trying to make it sound less than it actually is. Of course, once Dr. Andrews gets involved, I can't imagine it's just a "pectoral injury", even if Frankie is going there to get a second opinion.

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  • March 23, 2011 at 12:34 am
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    Sounds like it wasn't serious, based on news reports.

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  • March 23, 2011 at 1:19 am
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    sadp, phew! I was expecting the worst but sounds like it might not be so bad. Better to have him on the DL for just April than the entire year.

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