Nick Longhi, acquired on July 2nd from the Boston Red Sox in a trade involving international cap space, will miss the remainder of the 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. On July 13th the first baseman and corner outfielder attempted to make a play at the wall. He lept up to try and bring a home run back but wasn’t successful. He was replaced in the top of the following inning. It was the last time that he would play.
After the game Pensacola Blue Wahoos manager Pat Kelly said that Nick Longhi was removed from the game as a precaution. He noted that Longhi was having some soreness in his throwing arm that was also impacting his swing. It didn’t sound serious at the time, but he was placed on the 7-day disabled list the next day. Further evaluation must have been more serious as noted above, leading to him undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Tommy John surgery for position players usually has a shorter timeline for return than it does for pitchers. However, that isn’t always the case. Looking at the Tommy John surgery database we can see that the timeline for return has been between 6-23 months for various position players. Zack Cozart returned in just under eight months after having the surgery in August of 2011. He was playing by opening day of 2012. The average return time was 11 months, but there were more guys that returned in under 10 months than those that took more than 12 months.
Nick Longhi only played in seven games after joining the Cincinnati Reds organization in July. He was performing quite well in that time, though. He hit .316/.409/.526 in that span with a double, home run and three walks with just five strikeouts. Prior to joining Pensacola the 21-year-old was hitting .262/.302/.401 in 62 games with the Red Sox Double-A affiliate in Portland.