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Surgery a Relief for Pitcher

The Journal News—White Plains, NY—July 9, 2006

Collin Mahoney woke up in the recovery room at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on that day in late January, and David W. Altchek, M.D., attending orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, was in there telling the pitcher from Patterson with the former triple-digit fastball that he had indeed undergone very special surgery.

"Clinically, you have the worst elbow I've ever seen," Altchek told Mahoney. "Your ligament was a mess. You had bone chips and bone spurs. I don't understand how you threw or how you didn't know that your elbow was in this bad of condition."

"I was lucky enough to have my elbow be so bad that I guess my images, the pictures that he took during my surgery, are like his new face of 'Tommy John' or his docking procedure when he goes and does seminars and classes on surgery," the 23-year-old righty reliever said after recounting the scene.

Strangely, though, that had to come as welcome news for the Tigers' 2004 fourth-round pick.

"For a year and a half, I kind of hinted to all the trainers that there's probably something wrong with my elbow — it hurts, my velocity is way down," Mahoney said. "But I passed all the little stress tests. So they're basically calling me a hypochondriac.

"It was comforting almost to be like I wasn't making all this up, that this wasn't a dream and me being a hypochondriac, me being soft, my arm's not used to pitching. No, there was something really wrong."

So now it's all about making it right again. The 6-foot-4 converted catcher out of Mount St. Michael is sitting out his third season in the minors and just rehabbing after the reconstructive surgery and clean-out job.


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