Coste looking to rebound from Tommy John surgery
FARGO -- Somehow, some way, things always work out for Chris Coste. This time, that theory will really get a workout. The Major League Baseball player from Fargo is back for the summer and although that may be great for college kids and lake folk...
FARGO -- Somehow, some way, things always work out for Chris Coste. This time, that theory will really get a workout.
The Major League Baseball player from Fargo is back for the summer and although that may be great for college kids and lake folks, it's not what he had in mind. Coste is recovering from ligament surgery to his throwing elbow, commonly known as "Tommy John surgery" -- named after the former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher.
The good news: the ligament was stretched and not fully torn and doctors told him he should be healed in seven to eight months barring any setbacks.
The bad news: He'll be 38 years old when spring training begins and it will be up to a major league club like his current team, the Washington Nationals, to give him a tryout.
"The positive side is this surgery nowadays has such a high success rate that in the long term, it gives me a chance to possibly keep playing and playing very well," Coste said. "If you would have told me five years ago about this surgery, I would have assumed it was the end."
It's the same surgery that Minnesota Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano bounced back from this season after missing all of the 2007 season. Coste's prime example is Florida Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson.
"I faced him before his surgery and he was really good," he said. "He has the surgery and throws a complete game and the last pitch of the game was 98 miles per hour."
Coste broke through in the majors at the age of 33, ending 13 years of minor league devotion and was the title of his book "The 33-Year-Old Rookie." That was with Philadelphia.
He spent last year at Houston and the Nationals signed him in the offseason. He admits to thoughts of this surgery being a career ender, but his career also seems to find life.
Somehow, some way.
"In the case of my career, things always work out," he said. "Every disappointment has led to something far more positive. A year from today, maybe we'll be having the conversation on how I made it back."
The cause of the injury is most likely wear and tear over time. There was not the single, doom-defining throw, but he does recall a throw to second base in pre-game infield during spring training when it didn't feel right.
"It wasn't a pop or anything, but it was something unusual I hadn't felt in a long time," he said.
It felt a little worse the following day, which wasn't a good sign. The team gave him six weeks to recover, a normal turnaround period for his injury. If it didn't get better in six weeks, then surgery was probably the best option.
He had it almost three weeks ago.
Coste currently drives in from his lake cabin to Fargo twice a week for therapy. It's the first time he's spent a summer in the area since he was with the F-M RedHawks in 1999.
"I'm just happy they allowed me to come back home to do this therapy," Coste said. "It's a nice therapy for my brain. If I were stuck in Florida by myself, it would be tough. At least here I'm around family and friends."
Kolpack is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.