Updated: August 4th
Well, I guess I will start off this post by apologizing for what has turned out to be a false report the other day by me. It turns out that Hunter Greene was not pitching because he has a sprained UCL in his elbow. What it wasn’t, is what was reported on these pages the other day. For those who don’t want to click the link, here’s exactly what I reported:
Hunter Greene was listed as the probable pitcher last night in Dayton. Hunter Greene did not pitch last night in Dayton. He was removed from his previous start after two innings with what was described as stomach pains/aches. Before the game the team had no comment – both the Dragons and the Reds.
After the game I had a chance to speak with Luis Bolivar, the manager of the Dayton Dragons about why Greene was not pitching. The stomach issues apparently lasted a few days, which led to him missing his side session between starts. That pushed him back a little bit. I followed up by asking if he would be pitching on the road trip and was told that yes, he would.
Things could have changed between the time that I talked with Luis Bolivar and when the injury happened. Nick Krall, the Reds General Manager told the Cincinnati Enquirer that it happened in a bullpen session. That certainly could have taken place the next day (which would have been Wednesday), and then Hunter Greene went and got checked out and they found what they found.
About an hour ago the Cincinnati Reds released, via twitter, that Hunter Greene has been placed on the disabled list with a sprained UCL and will not pitch again this season. He will begin his rehab in Goodyear immediately, and will be evaluated throughout the offseason.
All of this suggests that the tear, because that’s exactly what a sprain is, isn’t significant and that perhaps treatment, and rest, will allow Hunter Greene to return and pitch next season without having to undergo Tommy John surgery. Michael Lorenzen, for example, has had success with that route.
It’s always unfortunate when a player gets injured. You never want to see it. Hunter Greene had put a rough start to the year behind him and had been dominating the Midwest League for the better part of two months when he ultimately suffered the elbow injury. He finishes the season with a 4.48 ERA in 68.1 innings with 23 walks and 89 strikeouts.
What is the timeline for Hunter Greene?
Hunter Greene is not going to pitch again this year. He will go the rehab route, which may include things like PRP injections and strengthening workouts. Things will be monitored in Goodyear and assessed along the way. The hope would be that those things work and he can return to the mound in 2019. That’s the best case scenario.
It would likely mean that Hunter Greene won’t throw again until next spring. And if at that point things aren’t going well, then it’s possible that you could see him and the Reds opt for Tommy John surgery. In terms of time away from the field, that wouldn’t push things much differently than if he were to have that procedure today. It would probably lead to a few extra months off of the mound. And you never know exactly how someone will return, though Tommy John does have a rather high success rate these days. But from March to 14 months down the road is still a return of June 2020. If Hunter Greene were to undergo the surgery today, he wouldn’t pitch again until spring training of 2020.
Surgery is always the last option. Since the tear is only partial, attempting the rehab route first makes a lot of sense. If you can avoid going under the knife, do so.