It was pain he’d previously dealt with and initial tests on the ligament came back clear, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy said after being removed in the sixth inning of his start on Saturday.
Nonetheless McCarthy was scheduled to undergo an MRI Monday and despite his optimism, the exam revealed a torn UCL in his right elbow, ending his season. While McCarthy said Monday he had yet to decide on his course of action, his assessment of the tear, “well done,” suggests Tommy John surgery is likely.
McCarthy traced the pain in his elbow back to his April 19 start against the Colorado Rockies and believed it was similar to pain he dealt with last season. However, once the pain increasingly got worse in his outing against the San Diego Padres, he began to believe the injury could be different than previous issues.
Should McCarthy opt for Tommy John surgery, he figures to return at the midway point of the 2016 season. “I think it will be the typical timetable, probably 14 to 15 months,” he said. “You kind of shoot for hopefully the All-Star break next year. If you can can push that a little bit and be agrressive then by all means, but they’ve become a little bit more cautious with that now.”
Despite the fact that he won’t be able to physically contribute to the team moving forward, McCarthy is hopeful the club will manage to replace him. “I hope I’m easily replaceable,” the 31 year old said. “I hope someone comes up and does a great job in my absence. It sucks to know that comes at your expense, but that’s the whole point of having a good team.”
While the Dodgers included provisions that protected against shoulder issues McCarthy may have fallen victim to, he doesn’t believe the contract includes any provisions pertaining to an elbow injury. Nor did McCarthy see reason for it to be necessary considering this is the first time in his career he’s had any elbow issues.
One question McCarthy said that’ll stick with him is whether the injury could’ve been prevented had he removed himself in the second inning of the fateful start. McCarthy, who was in the first of a four-year, $48 million deal, finishes the season 3-0 with a 5.87 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 29 strikeouts in 23.0 innings pitched.
The Dodgers placed the right-hander on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 26 and recalled Adam Liberatore from Triple-A Oklahoma City. With the addition of Liberatore, the Dodgers currently have 13 pitchers and 12 players on the active roster.
President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said prior to Monday’s series opener against the San Francisco Giants he wasn’t sure how much longer that will be breakdown.