TODAY: Bracho will undergo Tommy John surgery, the club announced. He’ll miss all of the coming season and perhaps also some time in the 2020 campaign.
YESTERDAY: Diamondbacks righty Silvino Bracho has been diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, tweets Zach Buchanan of The Athletic. The results of his MRI have been sent to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion, but it’s obviously an unwelcome development for the 26-year-old Bracho, who was lifted from a Cactus League game over the weekend due to elbow discomfort.
Though Bracho is far from a household name, his strong work in 2018 and the fact that he’s out of minor league options had placed him on the inside track for a bullpen job in 2019. Last year, in 31 innings with the D-backs, the right-hander worked to a 3.19 ERA with 9.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 0.58 HR/9 and a 35.1 percent ground-ball rate. He also turned in an impressive 15.4 percent swinging-strike rate and a gaudy 35.4 percent opponents’ chase rate on pitches outside the strike zone.
Rather than opening the season in the Arizona ’pen, however, Bracho now seems a lock to open the season on the injured list. Even if Tommy John surgery isn’t required, it seems likely that he’d receive alternative treatment (e.g. platelet-rich plasma injection, stem cell injection) and be shut down for the foreseeable future.
With Bracho likely out of the picture, the locks to make manager Torey Lovullo’s bullpen include right-handers Archie Bradley, Greg Holland and Yoshihisa Hirano, as well as left-handers Andrew Chafin and T.J. McFarland. The other spots will be up for grabs among a competition featuring Yoan Lopez, Jimmie Sherfy, Matt Andriese, Joey Krehbiel, Robby Scott and Rule 5 pick Nick Green.
The Arizona organization can keep him on the 60-day DL during the season, but will then have to make a decision when it is forced to add him back to the 40-man roster in the offseason. Financial commitments won’t have much of an impact, as Bracho has accumulated only 1.082 years of service to this point. He’ll accrue MLB service time while he is sidelined, but will still be shy of arbitration eligibility next fall.