The Oakland Athletics are now down two of their top starting pitchers for the 2014 season. Having already lost Jarrod Parker for the year to Tommy John surgery, the team will now lose A.J. Griffin as well.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS:
AJ Griffin will have tommy john surgery. It’s like an epidemic among good young starters. #athletics
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) April 29, 2014
Heyman joins Dr. James Andrews in the group of people to identify the rash of Tommy John operations this season as an epidemic. Given the chance to weigh in on the topic recently, Tommy John himself pointed to overuse of pitchers when they are at a young age as a possible cause of the spike in elbow injuries. Whatever the cause, it is undeniably a key story in 2014 and one that might affect the eventual outcome for certain teams this season.
In the case of Griffin, who has yet to pitch this season, the A’s stalled before making the determination that he would need the season-ending surgery. To date the A’s are the best team in baseball, but in order to keep that up they will now have to piece together a starting rotation without Parker (age 25) and Griffin (age 26).
Griffin went 14-10 with a 3.83 ERA and a 7.7 K/9 mark in 32 starts and exactly 200 innings last season.