Royals righty Jesse Hahn underwent surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, as Rustin Dodd of The Athletic was among those to report on Twitter. Hahn is expected to require approximately six months of rehabilitation, indicating that he may or may not be ready to return for the start of camp next spring.
Fortunately, Hahn did not require the famed Tommy John surgery that is often necessary to fix UCL damage. Instead, he will become the latest pitcher to undergo a “primary repair” procedure. The alternative approach comes with the promise of a much shorter rehab timeline, though it is also not nearly as established as the standby TJS.
About a year and a half ago, Seth Maness became the first known MLB hurler to be treated with the primary repair approach. He ended up signing with the Royals for his comeback attempt, so the team has some direct experience in this area. Unfortunately, Maness has not been able to regain his prior form to this point, though he did make it back to the majors briefly in 2017.
Hahn, 29, landed with the K.C. organization in an early-2018 swap in which the Athletics acquired lefty Ryan Buchter and took on more than half of Brandon Moss’s $7.25MM salary. While Hahn opened his MLB career with 170 innings of 3.23 ERA pitching, he was coming off of consecutive rough seasons at the time of the move.
Though the hope surely was that he would contribute to the MLB staff this year, and perhaps even regain some of his prior form, Hahn has only thrown six minor-league innings this season. That’s particularly disappointing given that he entered camp feeling healthy. Hahn was knocked around in two Cactus League innings before experiencing elbow issues and going on the 60-day disabled list in early March.