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Just a few weeks ago, were saying that Dodgers main problem rest in a rotation wrecked by injuries, and some ineffectiveness. But suddenly, the pitching has come around, and the Dodger bats have just died. The Dodgers have seen seven quality starts from their rotation during the eight-game skid, and even the bullpen has been relatively decent.
Which brings us to the main issue we're posting on today. By now, many of you have learned that Eric Gagne will undergo Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. This is devastating for both the Dodgers and Gagne.
There is virtually no track record for pitchers who have had two Tommy John surgeries. Darren Dreifort had two, but his career has been marred by so many other injuries that it's hard to gauge what kind of impact the second surgery had. Steve Ontiveros also had two, and was lousy afterward, but he was never a top-caliber pitcher to begin with.
From 2002-2004, Eric Gagne was not only the best closer in baseball, he was probably the best closer in baseball history. He has also become the face of the Dodgers and a clubhouse leader. He is virtually the team's only recognizable player. This injury could have a dramatic effect on the team's fan base.
As for the recovery plan, LAist recommends the Dodgers proceed with caution. Gagne may want to come back in May '06, but there is no sense in pushing it. Gagne should be forced to go through the same slow and deliberate recovery process that Brad Penny went through. If he misses most of 2006, so that he can have a better shot at being the old Gagne in 2007, then so be it.
Eric, get well. We'll miss you.
And no, Bill Plaschke, it's not your fault.