Another day, another Braves pitcher headed for Tommy John elbow surgery. This time it’s reliever Cory Gearrin, who has decided to go under the knife after getting three different opinions that confirmed his torn ulnar collateral ligament.
Gearrin suffered the injury late in spring training, although it’s hard not to trace his problems back to being worked extremely hard by manager Fredi Gonzalez early last season. At one point Gonzalez used Gearrin eight times in a ten-game span and the side-arming right-hander missed the whole second half with shoulder problems.
It’s a shame, because at age 28 he was finally ready to take on a full-time bullpen role after dominating at Triple-A for three seasons. And now he’ll miss the rest of this season and likely part of 2015 after joining teammates Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy in needing Tommy John surgery.
Angels catcher Rene Rivera will be sidelined for up to six weeks, the club announced Friday. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation last Sunday and underwent surgery for a torn meniscus.
Rivera, 34, signed on as a backup catcher to the Angels’ Martin Maldonado back in January. Since then, he’s slashed a healthy .259/.322/.481 with six extra-base hits and an .804 OPS in 59 plate appearances this spring. While manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t anticipate any complications with the veteran catcher’s recovery process, the team will have to wait and see whether he can maintain that kind of consistent production upon his return this summer.
In the interim, rookie backstop Jose Briceno is expected to shoulder Rivera’s workload. The 25-year-old is working through his second year in the Angels’ organization and currently batting .261/.272/.500 with six home runs in 92 PA for Triple-A Salt Lake. He’s likely to make his big league debut sometime in the next week.