Angels southpaw John Lamb will undergo Tommy John surgery after an MRI revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, according to a team media release. Lamb just hit the disabled list a few days ago due to shoulder and elbow inflammation.
Lamb signed a minor league deal with Los Angeles in the 2016-17 offseason and made three starts for the team this year, which represented his first taste of MLB action since pitching for the Reds in 2016. Lamb was solid in his first outing but struggled in his next two starts, and he’ll end the year with an ugly 7.20 ERA and four homers allowed over just 10 innings pitched.
The surgery represents the latest setback for Lamb in a career that has been marked by injuries and off-the-field issues. Considered one of the game’s top pitching prospects in his early days in the Royals’ farm system, Lamb was never quite the same after undergoing his first Tommy John procedure in 2011. He has also battled back injuries and served a 50-game suspension last season after testing positive for a drug of abuse. Over 129 2/3 career innings with the Reds and Angels, Lamb has a 6.25 ERA, 8.8 K/9, and 3.25 K/BB rate, with the long ball being a consistent problem (1.8 HR/9) for the left-hander.
The Angels have been ravaged by pitching injuries over the last few seasons, and Lamb is now the fourth Halos pitcher (after J.C. Ramirez, Keynan Middleton, and Blake Wood) to require Tommy John surgery in the last two-plus months. Jake Jewell is also gone for the season after undergoing right fibula surgery, while Matt Shoemaker could potentially miss the rest of the year after he needed to go under the knife to fix a split tendon in his forearm. All told, Anaheim currently has a whopping 11 pitchers on its disabled list, including front-of-the-rotation names like Garrett Richards and Shohei Ohtani (though Ohtani may be close to a return as a hitter, if not yet as a pitcher as the team continues to monitor his UCL sprain.)