Pirates Left-Hander Hector Garcia Has Tommy John Surgery

Left-handed pitcher Hector Garcia hasn’t pitched since July 8th in Morgantown after going down with an elbow injury. I learned last night that Garcia had Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, and is expected to miss the rest of the year, along with all of next year.

Garcia got off to a great start this year with the Black Bears, throwing eight shutout innings in his first two starts, with three hits, one walk, and 11 strikeouts. This followed a successful run in the Bristol rotation last year where he had a 3.38 ERA in 48 innings, with a 50:19 K/BB ratio. The Pirates obviously liked what they saw with him, as they skipped him over the GCL and made him a starter in the US. There was good reason to like him, as he was a left-hander who could hit 92 MPH at the ages of 17 and 18. We had him ranked as the number 44 prospect in the system heading into the year, and the Pirates originally gave him a $190,000 signing bonus.

Earlier in the year, we learned that Garcia had worked with Francisco Liriano in Spring Training, getting tips on how to throw his slider and curveball. That might have been what led to the 11 strikeouts in his first eight innings. Unfortunately, things fell apart after that, and he walked nine batters in 6.1 innings over his next three starts, which may have been due to the injury.

Garcia was young for his level, and doesn’t turn 20 until early October. He will miss his age 20 season, but will be able to return at the age of 21. If he gets pushed up to West Virginia at that time, then he could still have a shot at a career, assuming he comes back with his old stuff. For now, he becomes another pitcher on a growing list of Tommy John rehab guys in the Pirates’ system.

  • Does anyone remember Bobby Bradley a prior number one pick for the Bucs? He looked great then got hurt had surgery and vanished. Not every pitcher recovers from TJ surgery sufficiently enough to continue their career. Lets hope all the Pirate pitchers recover and carve out great careers.

  • What do you think of the Morgantown facility? I attended a few games early in the season and thought it was a huge upgrade from Jamestown.

  • This is another example of why limiting innings is rediculous. Not to say to overwork a kid, but building up arm strength is a key part of their development … how many on now on these limited pitch plans have had the surgery??? Just about all of them it seems.

    • They throw on a daily basis to build arm strength. Also, there are about 120-130 pitchers in the organization and there have been 10 cases of TJ in the last two years.

  • Can Glasnow just get his TJ surgery now? At least he would be ready for a full spring training 2017. Might even get some AFL time in 2016.

    • That’s the joke after all of these articles. But the reality is that Tommy John has happened to maybe 10% of the pitchers in the organization. That’s a lot, but it’s far from a guarantee for everyone.

      • I know, I know. Need to be more of an optimist. Glasnow gets called up in mid June and goes on to win rookie of the year. Unless that goes to Taillon.

      • And it also shows that- whatever “their” process has been for trying to protect pitchers, hasn’t worked very well. Babying pitchers doesn’t lead to less TJ injuries- at some point, maybe they will realize this

  • Shame, this kid can deal.