Tommy John hasn't played in the big leagues since 1989. But the soon-to-be 71-year-old (his birthday is this Thursday) has hardly been out of the news lately thanks to a glut of injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament. Texas Rangers pitcher Martin Perez is the 35th player this season to undergo the procedure that bears John's name — and he has some thoughts on recent epidemic to the game. In an interview with TeamSnap that was produced by Pagatim.com, John lays part of the blame on the year-round schedule of youth baseball:
"I think what these kids do in youth baseball can lead to Tommy John surgery. They pitch year-round," the 26-year Major League veteran said. "If you have your kid's best interests at heart, let them play another sport. Play baseball up until September. Then go play football, play soccer, play lacrosse, play basketball. Do something else and let your arm rest. And then start it up again in the spring."
John added that he never missed a start in the 14 years that followed his groundbreaking surgery performed by Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974.
Churchill called out
Moving to horse racing, Steve Coburn called out Churchill Downs following the 139th Preakness Stakes Saturday. The co-owner of California Chrome, which has won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, wasn't happy about the way the historic Kentucky track treated fellow Chrome co-owner Perry Martin during the Kentucky Derby more than two weeks ago (which he aluded to during a post-race interview with Bob Costas).
From Omaha to Charlottesville
Finally in football — and graduation — news, Peyton Manning spoke at the University of Virginia's commencement ceremonies Saturday. The Denver Broncos quarterback (whose wife Ashley attended college there) threw a few footballs to a handful in attendance.