THURSDAY: Capps is headed to see famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews on Monday, he told reporters including Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). While that link hardly means that Tommy John surgery is inevitable, it does suggest that there’s significant concern with his elbow, and even a non-surgical option would likely involve a reasonably lengthy rest and rehab period. The club is still “weighing options,” MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro adds on Twitter.
Capps tells Spencer that he is “in the wait-and-see stage still” with regard to his elbow. Though he’s obviously hoping to avoid surgery, he added that “peace of mind would be nice” given the uncertainty he’s currently experiencing. He indicated that his MRI showed “some stuff there,” though it’s unclear when the issues cropped up. Andrews examined Capps back in 2014, advising against a procedure at the time, and the hope is that his experience (with Capps and many others) will help reach a conclusive decision.
“On the mound, stuff comes out really good,” Capps said. “It’s just really painful right at the end (of the delivery) right now. It just kind of crept up, like tightness, and then it started progressing something more. I never felt it pop or anything.”
TUESDAY: Marlins righty Carter Capps, who is expected to play a key role at the back of the bullpen, is headed for an MRI after experiencing elbow soreness, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. Per the report, Miami has begun making making trade inquiries for relief help.
While it isn’t yet clear whether Capps has received a diagnosis, let alone what it might be, it appears as if the club could be preparing for the worst. Whatever the results, Capps will seek a second medical opinion, per the report.
The 25-year-old already missed significant time down the stretch in 2015 due to a sprained right elbow. Based in part on that history, as well as his propensity for throwing hard, Capps rated as the 10th most likely pitcher in all of baseball to require Tommy John surgery in the recently-compiled research of MLBTR contributor Bradley Woodrum.
That was an unfortunate way for Capps to end what was otherwise a breakout campaign. Over his 31 frames on the year, he compiled a sparkling 1.16 ERA. He backed that up with exceptional peripherals, including 16.8 K/9 against just 2.0 BB/9, that suggested he was at least as good as his results. (Indeed, his league-leading 0.87 SIERA indicated he might well have been even better.)
Spencer notes that Capps had been expected to challenge A.J. Ramos for the Marlins’ closer role, based in part on a desire to give him a more limited and predictable workload. Losing him for any significant stretch would represent a significant loss for a club that has hopes of turning things around after a disappointing season last year. There are other right-handed power arms on hand in the persons of Bryan Morris and Kyle Barraclough, but neither showed anything close to Capps’ overall form in 2015 and moving them up the pecking order would open more questions in the middle relief corps.