Diamondbacks starting pitcher Daniel Hudson appears to be headed for Tommy John surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said before Wednesday’s game in Atlanta that Hudson had torn the UCL in his pitching arm but might seek a second opinion before deciding on surgery. However, if surgery is required, the recovery time could be 12-18 months.
“I don’t know that (surgery will be required), but it’s possible,” Gibson said. “That’s not what you want to hear, though.”
Left-hander Patrick Corbin was recalled from Triple-A Reno to fill Hudson’s roster spot, but the Diamondbacks said Corbin would initially pitch out of the bullpen. Josh Collmenter, who began the season in the starting rotation, is scheduled to start Sunday’s game in Milwaukee. The Diamondbacks also activated shortstop Stephen Drew from the disabled list on Wednesday while optioning relief pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo to Reno.
Hudson, 25, was removed from Tuesday night’s game against the Braves in the second inning with right forearm tightness and was expected to return to Phoenix on Wednesday for an MRI. He was already on the DL from April 21-May 26 with a right shoulder impingement. He has made nine starts this season, going 3-2 with a 7.35 ERA in 45 1/3 innings — a steep drop-off from last season’s 16-12 record and 3.49 ERA.
“I just couldn’t get extended on the pitch without some pain in my elbow,” Hudson said after Tuesday’s game.
Hudson said his elbow has been sore for the “last few starts.”
“With my arm action, I figure it kind of comes with the territory,” he said. “I’m pretty concerned. It’s your elbow.”
D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said in an interview on KTAR that Hudson’s UCL suffered a 100 percent tear, similar to what Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg suffered in 2010.
“More than likely, (Hudson is) going to miss most of next year as well,” Towers said. “Strasburg did come back in a little over a year, and hopefully that’s the case with Daniel.”
Towers said Hudson’s injury won’t likely precipitate a rush into the trade market for a starting pitcher since Joe Saunders is due to return from the DL and there’s a deep pool of prospects in the farm system.
Corbin replaced Hudson in the rotation earlier this year, going 2-3 with a 5.27 ERA in 27 1/3 innings, and he was 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in six starts at Reno. Corbin was available out of the bullpen for Wednesday night’s game, with Collmenter unavailable after filling in for Hudson on Tuesday night. Collmenter has already been announced as the starter for Sunday’s game in Milwaukee.
Meanwhile, Drew was in the starting lineup against the Braves and hit second after missing more than 11 months with a fractured right ankle suffered last July 20. Gibson has said Drew will be eased back into action and will not likely be an everyday option, at least right away. He was 10 for 41 (.244) with two home runs in 11 rehab games.
Albaladejo was recalled Saturday when Saunders went on the DL with a strained left elbow. He made one appearance, giving up two runs in one inning in Tuesday’s game. He returns to Reno, where he has a 3-1 record with 13 saves and a 2.64 ERA.
The D-backs also expect top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer to join the team in Atlanta on Wednesday, though he has not yet been added to the active roster. Bauer, 21, is slated to start Thursday in place of Saunders.