The Arizona Diamondbacks announced on Thursday that pitcher Rubby De La Rosa will undergo his second Tommy John surgery.
The unexpected announcement that Rubby De La Rosa will undergo his second Tommy John surgery came before Thursday’s game against the Houston Astros.
De La Rosa was part of the Diamondbacks starting rotation in 2015 and 2016, but injuries and the addition of other starters moved him to the bullpen.
The 28-year-old pitcher suffered his first torn ulnar collateral ligament in 2011 as a rookie with the Los Angeles Dodgers. De La Rosa missed most of the 2012 season and was traded to the Boston Red Sox before the 2013 season.
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In the last two season with the Diamondbacks, De La Rosa has a 4.59 ERA and a 1.336 WHIP.
Manager Torey Lovullo told media before the game that De La Rosa has been experiencing discomfort in his elbow for the last ten days. His last appearance for the Diamondbacks was Aug. 1 in the 16-4 loss against the Chicago Cubs. He gave up a homerun and struck out two in his one-inning outing.
"“It’s very unfortunate for him, because he worked very hard to get himself back to the big leagues,” Lovullo said. “It’s a big setback for him, but this is the process he’s going to follow.”"
While it is commonly known that TJ surgery requires at least 15 months of rehab, a second TJ surgery will likely require more time off. It is not likely that De La Rosa sees a Major League mound until the 2019 season.
A study done in 2015 showed that only 65.5 percent of pitchers to undergo a second TJ surgery make it back to the big leagues. The two-year-old study just looked at 33 pitchers, because it’s rare for a pitcher to need a second surgery.
The first name that comes to mind is Colorado Rockies pitcher Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood underwent two TJ surgeries, the first one in high school in Southern California and the second one early in the 2014 season.
Chatwood didn’t pitch at all in the 2015 season. Despite a decent 2016 season, Chatwood has struggled during the Rockies potentially postseason-bound 2017 season.
It will be a long and difficult road for De La Rosa to return in a Diamondbacks uniform in 2019, but it is possible.