AUGUST 17: Morrow will indeed undergo surgery that will require a three-to-four month recovery window, Brock tweets.
AUGUST 5: Padres right-hander Brandon Morrow, who left the second start of a rehab assignment early last week, may now require surgery to repair a shoulder impingement, tweets MLB.com’s Corey Brock. The recovery on that operation would be three to four months, meaning Morrow’s season would be over. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets that the operation is “likely.” The diagnosis of the injury came on a second opinion of the shoulder from Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
Injuries are nothing new for Morrow, who has now logged six separate stints on the disabled list, dating back to the 2009 season. While the former No. 5 overall draft pick’s talent is alluring, he’s never been able to stay healthy with any form of consistency. Morrow has logged 768 2/3 innings in parts of nine big league seasons but has topped 100 innings just three times and never pitched more than 179 1/3 innings in a season.
The Padres rolled the dice on both Morrow and fellow talented-but-injury-prone righty Josh Johnson this offseason, perhaps hoping that one or the other would be able to deliver semi-regular starts in the fifth spot of the rotation. That hasn’t been the case, as Johnson hasn’t pitched, and Morrow’s been limited to 33 innings.
The work Morrow did turn in was quality, as he pitched to a 2.73 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 47.5 percent ground-ball rate. That production actually isn’t a bad return on the club’s modest $2.5MM investment. Morrow had the opportunity to earn an additional $5.5MM via incentives as a starting pitcher (or $1.5MM as a reliever), but he now seems extremely unlikely to reach the minimum threshold for any of those bonuses. (They’d have kicked in at 12 starts or 40 relief appearances, plus an additional $500K for 168 days on the active roster, per Cot’s.)