PHOENIX — When the Diamondbacks decided to bring top prospect Archie Bradley back to Phoenix for an MRI on Monday after the right-hander experienced unusual soreness in his elbow, they were worried. Given the club’s recent luck with injuries to its pitchers’ elbows, they had good reason to be.
The team’s worst fears were not realized, though, and Bradley is only expected to miss a month or so with what was described as a mild flexor strain in his pitching elbow. Bradley, with Triple-A Reno, went on the 7-day disabled list Tuesday and will be shut down for at least two weeks before beginning a throwing program.
Considering all the bad news the D-backs have received recently — Tommy John surgeries for Patrick Corbin and David Hernandez this year, following similar procedures last year for Daniel Hudson and Matt Reynolds — Bradley’s diagnosis came as somewhat of a relief.
"The one bit of good news we’ve had the last couple of weeks," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. "Very good news. A little worried when we heard that he was coming in, based on what we’ve gone through with David, Huddy, Reynolds, Corbin — the UCL club that we have in there."
Bradley’s UCL, Towers said, is undamaged. Team physician Dr. Michael Lee characterized the injury as very minor. Bradley initially felt increased soreness the morning after his last start last Saturday in which he gave up five runs on seven hits and four walks. The team decided then to have him examined in Phoenix. Bradley hadn’t felt any unusual soreness in his previous starts.
"Hopefully within a month, he’s throwing in games," Towers said. "The key thing is, structurally he is fine."
The D-backs have maintained since spring training Bradley is expected to contribute at the major league level this season. Exactly when has been a point of contention, as Bradley’s agent Jay Franklin earlier this month questioned the D-backs’ decision to keep him in the minors rather than promote him to fill a vacancy in the struggling major league rotation.
The timeline is obviously pushed back now. After starting the year strong with Reno, Bradley has struggled over his previous three starts, giving up 12 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings. Overall, Bradley is 1-4 with a 5.18 ERA.
Bradley’s injury is not as much a hit to organizational depth as it might have been a month ago. The Reno rotation includes Bo Schultz, veteran lefty Randy Wolf and right-hander Lucas Harrell, who was acquired Monday from the Astros.