Jordan Sheffield’s short and frustrating 2013 season now has an official ending. The righthander from Tullahoma (Tenn.) High had an MRI of his elbow evaluated Wednesday and was told that he needed Tommy John surgery. The surgery was performed Thursday morning by Dr. James Andrews.
Travis Sheffield, Jordan’s father, said everything went as expected and they are ready to move forward with the recovery process. A photo of Jordan after the procedure was posted on Tullahoma’s Facebook page.
“He’s a little down, but he realized that it was something that needed to be done,” Travis Sheffield said. “He told me, ‘I know it’s my senior year, but it’s not the last time I’m going to play baseball.’ He’s in good spirits.”
The Vanderbilt recruit was starting his senior year as a highly regarded pitching prospect after throwing in the mid-90s in October at the World Wood Bat Championship in a one-inning stint. Sheffield took the mound for Tullahoma on March 12 for his first start, but exited in the fourth inning with stiffness in his right arm. He took a couple weeks off to rest and threw a bullpen right before Tullahoma traveled to North Carolina for the USA Baseball National High School Invitational. He said he felt good to go after the bullpen and scouts were alerted that he would start in the Wildcats’ second NHSI game. He went to the bullpen to begin warming up for the game, but his arm felt tight again so head coach Brad White shut him down.
Sheffield returned to Tennessee after the NHSI for an MRI and set up an appointment for it to be evaluated by Dr. Andrews, the most well-known orthopedic surgeon on the East Coast. The entire situation played out over a one-month timeline and was frustrating for Sheffield and his family, but they’re happy to have closure to it all.
“That was the hard part,” Sheffield’s father said. “Should he take more time off? Does he need to play? Of course, Jordan, he’s a competitor and wanting to get out there. We had to shut him down from pitching and that brought him down a little bit, killed his adrenaline. That’s all he’s done since he was little is compete.
“To know what the diagnosis was and we took him to the best doctor, I’m happy now and I believe a couple days from now when the anesthesia wears off, Jordan will feel the same way.”
Sheffield is a short but athletic righthander at 6-feet, 180 pounds. He has a very quick arm that generates a plus fastball. He sat mostly 89-92 last summer, but opened a lot of eyes when he had a quick outing in Jupiter, Fla., in which he didn’t throw a fastball under 95 and flashed a nasty curveball in the low 80s. A preseason first-team All-American, Sheffield was a potential early-round pick, but with the expected recovery for ligament replacement surgery being 12-18 months, it’s likely he will wind up at Vanderbilt. His younger brother Justus, a junior lefthander, is verbally committed to Vanderbilt, so it’s possible that the duo will pitch together again in the near future. The elder Sheffield even received well wishes from Rays lefthander David Price, a fellow Tennessee native and Vanderbilt product.
Wishing @jordan_sheff a very healthy and quick recovery!! You’ll be back out on the field in no time
— David Price (@DAVIDprice14) April 11, 2013