Given that 2014 is well on its way to being the year of Tommy John surgery, I suppose we should not be the least bit surprised that another young starting pitcher is at risk to need the operation and be lost for the season.
In this case it is A.J. Griffin of the Oakland A’s. The 26-year-old starting pitcher has yet to throw a pitch this season due to a forearm strain that dates back to last season. The A’s were hoping that rest would be enough, but when Griffin tried to resume throwing this week he was still experiencing discomfort according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:
Shutting A.J. Griffin down for more than a month does not seem to have resolved the discomfort the A’s starter was feeling. The right-hander will get a second opinion on his elbow from Dr. Thomas Mehlhoff in Houston next Tuesday.
Griffin resumed throwing in the past day or two, manager Bob Melvin said, and things still weren’t feeling right. Griffin has been out with what has been described as flexor tendinitis, which is often a precursor to Tommy John surgery. Griffin first started experiencing some issues late last season.”
This news comes for Griffin on the same day that Ivan Nova and Josh Johnson officially joined the list of pitchers lost for the season to the operation. In the seasons beyond 2014, it truly will be interesting to see if the rash of elbow injuries this season was an outlier or the start of some sort of trend.
For now, it seems like virtually every team has been forced to tap into their organizational depth because a pitcher was lost for the season. If Griffin does have the surgery, the A’s would lose their second pitcher to Tommy John as Jarrod Parker is already out for the year.