Rangers’ right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez will miss the start of the season with a torn UCL in his right elbow, per a report from Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Gonzalez had been experiencing elbow soreness on Friday and was diagnosed with a partial tear shortly thereafter.
The righty could be sidelined through the first half of the season, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant, and that’s just if he makes a full recovery after receiving a PRP injection. Should worst come to worst, Gonzalez will need to undergo Tommy John surgery, which Grant says will optimistically put his return around the All-Star break in 2018. On the bright side, Gonzalez doesn’t have a history of arm injuries, and a quote from the team physician suggests that there is a good chance that his elbow could be repaired with more conservative measures.
Should Gonzalez make a quick recovery, however, he’ll still need to prove he can improve on the 8.71 ERA and 0.0 fWAR he produced with the Rangers in 2016. Poor mechanics and control issues curtailed his performance on the big league level, keeping him to 10 1/3 innings in between stints at Triple-A Reno. He was expected to compete for a rotation spot this spring, a role that will likely land among right-handers A.J. Griffin, Dillon Gee and Mike Hauschild.