Prized pitching prospect Roberto Osuna has torn the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, meaning that he may need Tommy John surgery, according to a Gregor Chisholm tweet. Either he or the club has chosen to rehab the elbow first before plunging into the surgery, which has an approximately 12-month recovery time. Right now, Osuna is in "shutdown mode".
If you recall, Drew Hutchison also attempted to rehab his elbow for several months before going under Dr. James Andrews’ knife in August. I am sure that the club and Osuna have consulted medical professionals before making this decision.
The good news is that Osuna is just 18. He was signed out of Mexico back in 2011 for a cool $1.5 million (what did you get for your 16th birthday?) He pitched in Bluefield (Rookie) and Vancouver (short-season A) last season before being promoted to Lansing (A) for 2013. In five starts of 22 innings, Osuna showed no sign of struggle at the new level: he recorded a 3.63 ERA and a 0.851 WHIP, striking out 12.5 batters per nine and walking just 1.6. He was pulled from his last start after just 4.1 innings.
Osuna's "coming-out" moment came last season when he struck out 12 batters in a five inning outing in his debut with the Vancouver Canadians. He was our "prospect of the week" back on January 15 and Woodman wrote briefly about his top-prospect status last week. Both John Sickels (who graded him a B+ prospect) and MiLB.com named him as Toronto's #2 prospect, and Keith Law ranked him #87th overall.
This is a tough blow to Osuna and the Vancouver Canadians, but truth be told, he was still years away from making an impact at the major leagues, and he is still just 18 years old.