Athletics left-hander Felix Doubront will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow and will miss the 2016 season, the club announced (h/t: MLB.com’s Jane Lee, on Twitter). The 28-year-old Doubront was recently reported to have been diagnosed with “fibrous tearing” in his left elbow and was seeking additional opinions before deciding whether to proceed with surgery.
The news is disheartening for Doubront, who was set to serve as Oakland’s fifth starter but left his final appearance of the spring due to forearm tightness. He’ll spend the season on the Athletics’ 60-day disabled list and receive Major League service time, though that probably only offers minimal consolation. Doubront currently has four years, 41 days of MLB service time, so that would push him to five-plus and make him arbitration eligible following the season. However, considering the fact that he isn’t likely to be ready to pitch until next summer, the injury makes him a likely non-tender candidate following the season.
Doubront has pitched 155 innings across the past two seasons as a member of the Red Sox, Cubs, Blue Jays and A’s. In that time he’s posted an unsightly 5.52 ERA, although last season metrics such as xFIP and SIERA pegged him more in the 4.30 range. With Doubront on the shelf to open the season, fellow lefty Eric Surkamp stepped into the rotation and worked 4 1/3 innings against the Mariners, yielding two runs. Surkamp figures to continue to get a look early in the season, but the A’s have Henderson Alvarez working his way back from a shoulder injury, and he’ll eventually challenge for a rotation spot if all goes according to plan. Beyond that, the Triple-A rotation currently contains right-hander Jesse Hahn, who spent the 2015 season in Oakland’s rotation but is ironing out some kinks after a rough spring, and top left-handed pitching prospect Sean Manaea, who shouldn’t be too far off from Major League readiness. Suffice it to say, the A’s have alternatives should Surkamp struggle, but the loss of Doubront nonetheless thins out the rotation depth a bit.