UPDATE: It’s official. Luebke announced that he’ll go under the knife later this week and miss the remainder of the season.
Yesterday the Padres shifted Cory Luebke from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list and manager Bud Black told Sarah Trotto of MLB.com that the left-hander is “strongly leaning” toward undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery.
Luebke has been out since April 27 with an elbow injury and apparently some thought has been given to attempting to pitch through the partial ligament tear, but every indication is that he’ll go under the knife at some point later this week.
It’s a tough break for the Padres, as Luebke had emerged as a long-term building block despite not debuting in the majors until age 25, throwing 188 innings with a 3.25 ERA and 195/58 K/BB ratio. Even worse, the season-ending injury and 12-month recovery timetable come right after Luebke and the Padres agreed to a contract extension worth $12 million in guaranteed money and as much as $27 million through 2017.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.
Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.
When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.
The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.