Padres righty Jacob Nix has decided not to undergo Tommy John surgery at the present, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports on Twitter. Rather, he’ll attempt to rehab back from what is described as a small tear of his ulnar collateral ligament.
It’s always good to hear that there’s a possible non-surgical path back from an injury to that area. TJ procedures are remarkably effective at giving pitchers a new lease on life, but they generally come with a year-plus recovery timeline and hardly guarantee a full return to pre-surgery ability levels.
The 23-year-old Nix has already had a circuitous path to the majors, so he’ll no doubt be relieved that there’s a possibility he’ll avoid another lengthy detour. Back in 2014, he was slated to sign an over-slot deal to join the Astros organization, but that fell apart as part of the Brady Aiken saga.
Nix landed with the Friars in the third round of the following year’s draft and moved steadily up the ladder thereafter. He turned in ten sparkling upper-minors outings in 2018, working to a 1.84 ERA with 44 strikeouts and nine walks over 58 2/3 innings, before getting his first call to the bigs.
While he was knocked around in his first taste of the majors, Nix entered camp this year with a shot at earning another look. The elbow woes eliminated that possibility, but he could still get back into the mix later this season if he’s able to progress through the rehab program.