Jameson Taillon has been diagnosed with an injury to his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and will elect to have Tommy John surgery, the team has announced.
I first reported Taillon was shut down a few weeks ago with what he described as “a little bit of elbow discomfort”. The initial MRI he received said the ligament was strong, which suggested the injury could be something in the form of bone chips in his elbow. However, he decided to get a second opinion, and after that opinion, the team and Taillon were both hushed in the results of the second opinion.
The silence following the second opinion raised concerns. After the first opinion, the plan was for Taillon to take two weeks off, then re-evaluate and potentially build up for the season. It became obvious that the second opinion didn’t go well once both parties went silent. The hope was still that it was something minor that wouldn’t put him out for the 2014 season.
Neal Huntington mentioned to the media today that Taillon had a “compromised” UCL, although it was still intact. That sounds like a minor tear, and probably explains why the two sides were debating the next approach over the past week.
Obviously this means that Taillon won’t be up in 2014. The timing of this injury means that Taillon could be back at the start of the 2015 season. However, he is going to still need time in Triple-A, which pushes his expected MLB debut back to around June 2015. Tommy John surgery isn’t the career killer it once was. Almost every pitcher returns from Tommy John about a year later at the level they were at before the injury. So this won’t hurt Taillon’s career in the long-run, but it will obviously delay his arrival in the short-term.