Premium prospect Roberto Osuna, Clutchlings' #3 ranked Blue Jays Prospect, was removed from his last start with Low A Lansing of the Midwest League last week with right elbow soreness.
After a visit with famed surgeon Dr James Andrews, Osuna was diagnosed with a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament. Surgery to repair the tear (Tommy John surgery) has not been recommended yet, but given the experiences of dozens of other players with a similar injury, is likely if the prescribed regimen of rest and rehab doesn't work.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous told mlb.com that Osuna has been shut down, and will begin playing catch from 60 feet today. If he doesn't respond to treatment, TJ surgery will be the next course of action. It typically takes one full year for a starting pitcher to recover. Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison, and Luis Perez all had the surgery last summer, and have been throwing side sessions for the past few weeks, and are scheduled to face live hitters near the end of the month. Perez is a little bit ahead of the other two, possibly because he is a reliever, and doesn't need to build up the same amount of endurance.
Josh Johnson and Sergio Santos are on the major league disabled list, Brandon Morrow has been pushed back for his next start, and R.A. Dickey has been plagued by back and neck issues since April.
Dustin McGowan, on the 60-day DL, has started an arm-strengthening program, and Ricky Romero was sent back down to work on his delivery and command issues. Not the greatest week for the organization from a pitching perspective.
Interesting sidenote about TJ surgery: a myth has developed that pitchers develop greater velocity as a result of the operation. Orthopedic surgeons have reported that parents have come to them, asking them to perform the surgery on their un-injured sons. Dr Frank Jobe, who pioneered the procedure, debunked the myth - while acknowledging the bump in speed, Jobe suggests that it is due to the pitchers' increased attention to conditioning after the surgery, and the fact that the tear tends to develop over several seasons in the first place, leading to a gradual loss of velocity.
If therapy is unsuccessful, Osuna likely will require surgery by the summer, meaning that his return to the mound in a starting role won't likely happen until 2015, or late in the 2014 season.