LOS ANGELES -- Going through Tommy John surgery is never an easy process, and it is one that Nathan Eovaldi experienced at an early age.
The hard-throwing right-hander underwent the procedure during his junior season at Alvin High School in Texas, which happens to be the same school attended by Nolan Ryan.
A year later, not only had Eovaldi recovered to the point of playing, he became the 11th-round Draft pick of the Dodgers.
"I recovered from it fast," Eovaldi said. "It was like, 6 1/2, seven months, and I was back on the mound."
The Marlins have been rocked by a serious elbow injury to their ace, Jose Fernandez. An MRI revealed a significant tear in his elbow, and Tommy John surgery has been recommended.
Fernandez, 21, is expected to be out 12 to 18 months.
Eovaldi, one of the hardest throwers in the game, recalls how his velocity developed both before and after his surgery.
As a freshman in high school, he was throwing around 76-80 mph. As a sophomore he grew and gained weight, and his fastball ramped up to 88-91. As a junior he was throwing 94-96 mph prior to his surgery.
Now he is throwing in the upper 90s, and has already reached 100.
Having the surgery was an easy decision for him.
"I had two partial tears where it connects on both sides," he said. "Maybe if I had one, I might have just done the rehab. But I had two. It was my junior year."
The surgery was performed by Dr. David Lintner, the team doctor of the major Houston sports franchises.
"Maybe if I could recover in time, I could go play college ball. That was my thought process," Eovaldi said. "I just wanted to get a scholarship for school. Fortunately, I recovered from it quickly enough to get drafted and take my chances up here."