Lewis A. Yocum, the team doctor for the Los Angeles Angels and an orthopedic surgeon who helped extend the Major League Baseball careers of players including Stephen Strasburg and Dustin Pedroia, has died. He was 66.
Yocum was a fellow at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles and specialized in shoulder, elbow and knee surgery. USA Today reported that Yocum had liver cancer, without saying where it got the information.
“Dr. Lewis Yocum was a giant in the field of sports medicine,” MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said in a e-mailed statement. “He was an invaluable resource to not only the Angels franchise, but players throughout all of Major League Baseball.
‘‘All of our clubs relied upon Dr. Yocum’s trusted opinion and judgment.’’ Selig said. ‘‘Throughout the last 36 years, the lives and careers of countless players benefited from his pioneering expertise, and he made our game on the field better as a result.’’
Yocum was a consulting surgeon for hundreds of major league players and recently met with Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award winner as his league’s best pitcher, about Halladay’s shoulder injury.
Yocum performed Tommy John ligament-transplant surgery in 2010 on Strasburg, drafted No. 1 by the Washington Nationals the previous year. Strasburg returned to go 15-6 with a 3.16 earned run average last season.
Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox, Jordan Zimmerman of the Nationals, Kendrys Morales of the Seattle Mariners and C.J. Wilson of the Angels are other notable players who were Yocum’s patients.
‘‘Really saddened by the passing of Dr. Yocum,” Wilson, who had Tommy John surgery in 2004, said via Twitter. “He was the sole reason a lot of pitchers and I had a chance at a career in baseball.”