Duke Welker Appears to Be Having Tommy John Surgery

Duke Welker has been on the disabled list in Indianapolis since May 5th, and today he had this tweet:

James Andrews. New elbow. I haven’t received word that Welker was having Tommy John, but that appears to be the case. Welker will be the third Pirates pitching prospect undergoing Tommy John surgery this season, following Jameson Taillon and Clay Holmes.

This also continues the trend of hard throwers having Tommy John surgery. Welker barely pitched last year in the majors, but in his very brief time he had the 8th highest average velocity in the majors. His 97 MPH average is normal when he’s healthy. This year has seen a lot of hard throwers going down with elbow injuries, which has in turn raised questions about the value and risk of hard throwers.

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Andrew

    Could be a flexor tendon repair.

  • SteveW

    Tim, if it is TJS and he goes on the 60-day DL, then do the Bucs have to still carry him on the 40-man for the next Rule 5 draft?

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com/ Tim Williams

      He’s in the minors, so he wouldn’t have to go on the 60-day DL.

      As for carrying him next year, it depends. He’s out of options after this year, so he’d have to be in the majors. They could carry him, then place him on the 60-day DL. But then he’d have to be in the majors. It’s more likely that they take the Kyle McPherson approach, where they non-tender him and make him a free agent, then try to re-sign him to a minor league deal. This would allow him to rehab, and would allow them to send him to Triple-A when his rehab is done.