Indians left-hander Nick Hagadone underwent an elbow procedure that is being termed “internal fixation of his left elbow medial epicondyle” today, via MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (Twitter link). Dr. James Andrews, who performed the operation, estimated a recovery time of six to nine months.
While epicondyle injuries aren’t exactly commonplace, this marks the second time this season that an Indians pitcher has incurred such an injury. Gavin Floyd, who signed a one-year, $4MM contract this offseason, fractured the epicondyle in his right elbow for a second straight season and was unable to throw a pitch for Cleveland during the regular season.
Hagadone’s injury will bring his 2015 season to a close, and it least raises the possibility that it’ll bring his Indians career to a close as well. The 29-year-old entered the season with two years, 56 days of service time under his belt, so he’ll reach three years of service and therefore qualify for arbitration following the season. While his price tag won’t be exorbitant due to the injury-shortened year and his so-so career marks, Cleveland will be forced to decide whether to give him his first bump above the general vicinity of the league minimum (he’s earning $517K this season) or non-tender him. Of course, even if they’re not comfortable with a raise, Cleveland could non-tender Hagadone and re-sign him for a smaller amount or on a minor league deal.
Originally acquired from the Red Sox in the Victor Martinez trade back in 2009, Hagadone has spent parts of the past five seasons in the Cleveland bullpen. While he produced unspectacular results for much of that period, he’s been better since Opening Day 2014, notching a 3.55 ERA (a near-mirror image of his 3.53 FIP) with 9.8 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 50 2/3 innings. Hagadone’s career ERA is a less inspiring 4.72. He’s never struggled to miss bats (9.3 K/9), but he’s battled control issues (4.6 BB/9) and has had some issues against right-handed hitters. While lefties have a career .210/.293/.327 slash line against Hagadone, righties have hit him at a .257/.354/.410 clip.