Padres’ right-hander Colin Rea underwent Tommy John surgery on Thursday, according to reports by the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Dennis Lin and MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell. Rea had been at the center of some drama between the Padres and Marlins during the 2016 trade deadline, when the righty was dealt in a multi-player swap and promptly returned to San Diego after suffering an elbow strain in his first outing in Miami.
Rea was diagnosed with a torn UCL in early August, but opted out of Tommy John surgery after receiving PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) treatment from Dr. James Andrews instead. While MLB investigated the Padres’ disclosure of medical records, the 26-year-old remained on the bench for the remainder of the 2016 season and was working his way through a rehab program when he felt discomfort in his elbow during a throwing session. The surgery pushed his return date back to the start of 2018, though Cassavell notes that had the right-hander undergone Tommy John in August, there would be no better chance of him making a full recovery by Opening Day of the 2017 season.
While the Padres have plenty of internal candidates for their 2017 rotation, the long recovery process that still stretches before Rea could encourage the front office to seek outside help as they work their way back from fifth place in the NL West division.