Arizona Diamondbacks: Miller reveals partial UCL tear

Shelby Miller has a partial tear of his UCL and flexor strain. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)
Shelby Miller has a partial tear of his UCL and flexor strain. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports) /

Right-hander Shelby Miller of the Arizona Diamondbacks will decide shortly whether to have surgery.

First, the news for Shelby Miller, a right-hander for the Arizona Diamondbacks, was certainly not good. Now, the real agonizing decision.

For five days, Miller hoped for the best and knew the worst represented the true diagnosis. Last Sunday, Miller left a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth inning on what was described as tightness in his forearm. During the next four days, the Diamondbacks’ staff and medical department refused to commit to an exact diagnosis, and held all listeners at arm’s length with a universal claim of “we’re waiting for more information.”

After putting off the enviable for several days, Miller came forth before Thursday game’s home game with the San Diego Padres with affirmation to Venom Strikes that he sustained a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Miller also revealed he suffered a flexor strain.

Discussing his future before Thursday’s game, Miller told Venom Strikes he will decide, at a later date, whether to undergo surgery. If he opts for that direction, this will likely be a Tommy John procedure, a common among pitchers. Miller told Venom Strikes he plans to speak with renown surgeon Dr. James Andrews in the next day or so and make a decision effecting both his future and direction of starting rotation. At the same time, his thoughts can be interpreted as universal when finding out such news.

"It sucks. You never think this can happen to you, but it is what it is and just deal with it. It’s one of these things you can’t control. I’ll make a decision sooner or later and this will not be easy for me."

Previous to Dr. Andrews’ examination of Miller’s medical records, the Arizona right-hander also met with Dr. Gary Waslewski, the Diamondbacks team physican, and Dr. Neal El Attrache in Los Angeles. Miller confirmed all three doctors reached the same conclusion.

Should Miller decide on surgery, he will miss the rest of this season and well into the 2018 season. Given the medical declaration here, Miller would appear to have one option, and that’s to go under the knife.

With Miller’s absence, the rotation for manager Torey Lovullo now undergoes an alteration.

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Before Thursday’s game, Lovullo told Venom Strikes that the club is now in crisis mode. Because of days-off this Monday and Monday May 8, there is no immediate rush to name Miller’s replacement.

One name which surfaced is Archie Bradley, who has pitched well in his role out of the bullpen. Before Thursday’s game, Lovullo told Venom Strikes that Bradley’s real value is to be determined.

"Archie is being considered as the fifth starter. For us right now, it is to assess our strongest need. We have to find the best option now and what will be the best option going forward."

Lovullo told Venom Strikes the rotation is set through this coming Sunday. That’s when Patrick Corbin is expected to close out the up-coming weekend series against the Colorado Rockies. Then, the first of two off-days off within an eight-day period is this Monday, and, at that point, Lovullo must complete five-man rotation.

Replacing Miller

Following disclosure of his partial tear, the Diamondbacks transferred Miller to the 60-day disabled list. Replacing Miller on the 25-man roster, the Diamondbacks called up lefty T. J. McFarland from Triple-A Reno.

In seven appearances for the Aces, McFarland had a 0.00 ERA, nine strikeouts and limited the opposition to a .171 batting average (6-for-35).

Injury update

Second baseman Brandon Drury, who left Wednesday night’s game with a jammed right knee, remains day-to-day. Before Thursday game, Lovullo told Venom Strikes if the Diamondbacks were in the seventh game of the World Series, Drury would be in the line-up.

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Instead, Drury was given an extra day of rest, and will likely start Friday night against the Rockies. For Thursday night’s game, Chris Owings started at second and Nick Ahmed took over for Owings at shortstop.