Right-handed reliever Chris Withrow has been away from the Los Angeles Dodgers since May 21 after being optioned to Triple-A when Hyun-Jin Ryu was reinstated from the disabled list.
Withrow was expected to join the Albuquerque Isotopes and continue his development, waiting for the call back to the big leagues. Some concern grew once it was realized that Withrow was not officially added to the Isotopes roster over a week since his demotion.
According to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA, the reason for the delay has been found and it is not good for the 25-year-old:
Chris Withrow has a UCL tear, and was recommended to need Tommy John Surgery. He is seeking a second opinion
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) May 29, 2014
This is a devastating blow to the Dodgers and their bullpen depth as the season wears on. Withrow was sent down more so because of his option availability rather than his production. It appears as if the right-hander would have found himself on the disabled list regardless of what the Dodgers did. Undergoing Tommy John would put Withrow out at least a year, possibly more depending on his recovery.
This season, Withrow had a 2.95 ERA in 20 appearances for the Dodgers; however, he had a lot of trouble with his control that led to 18 walks in 21.1 innings. The right-hander also had 28 strikeouts in that same amount of time that allowed Withrow to limit his damage. Withrow played an integral part for the team late last season, stabilizing the bullpen during the Dodgers run from last place to first place. He struck out 43 batters in 34.2 innings in 2013 and finished with a 2.60 ERA.
Even with a second opinion, a tear in the UCL is often treated with Tommy John surgery and it is tough to continue on without the operation.
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