A's Anderson undergoes procedure, avoids surgery

June 13, 2011, 10:25 pm
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June 13, 2011


Paul Gutierrez

Finally, it appears, the A's injury-ravaged pitching staff may have caught a break on the injury front.The team announced Monday that left-hander Brett Anderson has received a Platelet Rich Plasma injection in his sore pitching elbow and will "now undergo six weeks of rehabilitation." Anderson had speculated he might need season-ending Tommy John surgery, which would also keep him out for the 2012 season.Anderson, 23, was examined by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews as a second opinion on Monday in Pensacola, Fla., after a preliminary MRI could find no structural damage as a reason for the discomfort, and Andrews recommended the procedure.The A's said Anderson would be reevaluated in three weeks.

Anderson has been on the disabled list since June 7 and was 3-6 with a 4.00 ERA in 13 starts. He had been pounded for 14 earned runs and 20 hits, including four home runs, with five walks in 10 13 innings over his last two starts, against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, as he struggled with his command and a loss in velocity.In going 7-6 with a 2.80 ERA in 19 starts last season, Anderson twice spent time on the D.L. with elbow soreness. In 62 career starts, Anderson is 21-23 with a 3.66 ERA.According to the Chiro-Medical Group of San Francisco's Web Site, "The (Platelet Rich Plasma injection) method, which is strikingly straightforward and easy to perform, centers on injecting portions of a patients blood directly into the injured area, which catalyzes the bodys instincts to repair muscle, bone and other tissue. Most enticing, many doctors said, is that the technique appears to help regenerate ligament and tendon fibers, which could shorten rehabilitation time and possibly obviate surgery..."Platelet-rich plasma is derived by placing a small amount of the patients blood in a filtration system or centrifuge that rotates at high speed, separating red blood cells from the platelets that release proteins and other particles involved in the bodys self-healing process, doctors said. A teaspoon or two of the remaining substance is then injected into the damaged area. The high concentration of platelets-from 3 to 10 times that of normal blood-often catalyzes the growth of new soft-tissue or bone cells. Because the substance is injected where blood would rarely go otherwise, it can deliver the healing instincts of platelets without triggering the clotting response for which platelets are typically known."The procedure, though, has undergone scrutiny by critics as being too close to "blood-doping." Still, other professional athletes to have undergone the procedure include golfer Tiger Woods, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers, former Los Angeles Dodgers closer Takahashi Saito and, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, current A's players Ryan Sweeney and Joey Devine and former Oakland pitchers Vin Mazzaro and Jay Marshall.This season, the A's have already lost lefty Dallas Braden for the year with left shoulder surgery and right-handers Tyson Ross (left oblique strain) and Brandon McCarthy (stress reaction in right scapula) are on the D.L., as is Rich Harden (strained right shoulder), though Harden has been there since spring training.