When doctors believe Gregorius can return to field for Yankees

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All Tommy John surgery comebacks are made differently, but for an infielder like Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius, a reasonable time frame for his return to the lineup is 8-10 months, multiple doctors said Friday.

The Yankees have not yet scheduled the surgery for Gregorius’ injury, in which he tore the UCL in his right elbow during the ALDS at Fenway Park, but if it is performed by the end of the month, he could potentially target playing again by June.

“For the stresses he’s going to experience compared to a pitcher, the recovery is much more predictable,” said Dr. Laith Jazrawi, the chief of sports medicine at NYU Langone Health, who trained under popular surgeon Dr. James Andrews. “They’ll be back right where they were before pretty quickly.”

While pitchers generally face more challenging rehab processes from the surgery, which could sideline them 12-18 months, position players are usually able to return more quickly because they put less stress on their UCL.

“The amount of forgiveness that you have with a positional player is a lot more with this type of surgery,” Jazrawi said. “It’s an exceedingly reliable surgery in the most demanding position, being the pitcher, so that is even amplified when we’re operating on a positional player.”

Gregorius will have to pass through different stages of his recovery after the surgery.

“Once the wound is healed, they can move forward with a stretching program and eventually a strengthening program,” said Dr. Armin Tehrany, the founder of Manhattan Orthopedic Care.

The typical recovery protocol allows players to begin a throwing program four to six months after surgery. That program itself could take up to two months, assuming the player gets through each progression relatively pain-free.

Gregorius may be able to take some swings off a tee around the same time or even before then, since it causes less stress to the ligament, though it depends on the tissue quality team doctors find during surgery, said Dr. Stephen A. Hunt, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Tri-Couny Orthopedics in Cedar Knolls, N.J.

“The acrobatic throws to first base to get a runner out, it’s going to take a little time to get him to feel totally comfortable,” Hunt said. “But it’s a lot different than a pitcher trying to have controlled pitches hitting a strike zone. … By the time he’s really getting cleared, I don’t think I’d tack on a lot longer.”

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