Patrick Corbin out for season after Tommy John surgery
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Diamondbacks left-hander Patrick Corbin underwent ligament replacement surgery to repair a tear in his left elbow, the Diamondbacks announced Tuesday.
The surgery, performed by noted specialist Dr. James Andrews, will keep Corbin from pitching this season, a year after he spring-boarded from a spring training competition for the final rotation spot to his first All-Star appearance.
"It’s obviously a setback for him and for us, but you have to deal with these things," said D-backs bench Alan Trammell, pinch-hitting for manager Kirk Gibson on Tuesday after Gibson underwent knee surgery.
"Every club in baseball has to deal with these things. We’re dealing with it now, and we’ll see what happens. Every time these things happen, it is an opportunity for somebody to step up, and hopefully that happens here. That’s oftentimes how careers are started, people get their foot in the door and then take off.
Randall Delgado is expected to rejoin the rotation in Corbin’s absence, with top prospect Archie Bradley and hard thrower Bo Schultz to open the season at Class AAA Reno.
Brandon McCarthy will start the U.S. opener against San Francisco on March 31, with Wade Miley, Delgado, Bronson Arroyo and Trevor Cahill expected to follow. McCarthy is to start the exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, and the others are in line to follow him for the final exhibition games this week.
Corbin, 24, was 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA last season, when he won his first nine decisions and undefeated into July. He had 23 quality starts, tied for sixth in the NL, and he threw 70 percent of his first pitches for strikes, the highest ratio in the league.
"You never prepare for something like that. It’s tough," D-backs right-hander Josh Collmenter said. "He was going to be the guy to pitch the first game, and just off what he did last year, you were looking for him to even improve on that. Who knows how good he could have been this year? It’s unfortunate there, but the way Tommy John (surgery) goes now, a lot of guys bounce back. So we lose him for the year, but he should be ready to go next year. With him being so young, you hope it is not a setback for his career."
Corbin said he had felt some discomfort most of spring training but considered it normal soreness. But he reported a significant increase in pain on the final three pitches he threw in the seventh inning of a March 15 start against Cleveland. That was to be his final tuneup before pitching the regular-season opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Australia.
"It is never good when teammates get injured, but you have to move on," first baseman and fellow All-Star Paul Goldschmidt said. "Every team is going to deal with injuries and different things. You can either dwell on it or can move on and do the best you can."
Corbin is the latest in a line of young pitchers to have Tommy John surgery this spring, after Oakland right-hander Jarrod Parker and Atlanta right-handers Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. Parker and Medlen had the surgery for the second time. Parker’s first came while he was with the D-backs in 2009.
"The great thing is, we have a lot of experience in our rotation," Collmenter said. "They’ve all been doing it for a couple of years, and it doesn’t change for them. They move up one spot in the rotation, and I don’t think that is going to faze them."
D-backs left-hander Matt Reynolds and right-hander Daniel Hudson are recovering from Tommy John surgeries last season. Hudson could be back in mid to late summer after his second operation. Reynolds could return in September, but the D-backs will not rush either.
With a normal 12-month recovery period, Corbin could be available for the 2015 season.
Gibson had arthroscopic surgery to remove loose cartilage in his left knee Tuesday. He is expected to be back in camp in the next day or two at longest.
"He’s going to be on crutches for at least a few days,” said Trammell. "It’s been bothering him for a while. If there is a good time to have it done, he at least will have most of the week to get back into action."