The Diamondbacks announced that righty Luke Weaver has been diagnosed with an injury to his right ulnar collateral ligament and flexor pronator but will not undergo surgery. Instead, he’ll “be treated conservatively.”
Weaver and the D-Backs did not arrive at this conclusion without quite some thought. He was checked out by four different physicians, per manager Torey Lovullo. The injury turned out to be rather significant — last we checked in, it had been labeled a forearm strain — but not quite bad enough to warrant a procedure that would likely have cost Weaver the remainder of this season along with a big chunk of 2020.
It’s obviously preferable to avoid Tommy John surgery whenever possible, since it’s a major procedure that isn’t foolproof and require a lengthy layoff. That said, there’s also some real risk in holding off when it may well be warranted. If a rehab approach fails to take, it can make for a delay that pushes back the ultimate return date.
Though it’s good to hear that the injury is on the mild side, there’s really no sugarcoating UCL issues. There’s enough time for Weaver to make it back to the mound this season, if all goes well in the healing process and there aren’t setbacks when he tries to ramp back up. But the injury will still rob him of a big portion of the present season and will hang over his head thereafter.
Weaver still holds plenty of promise. He boosted his stock after landing with the Snakes on the heels of a messy 2018 effort, opening the current season with 62 1/3 innings of 3.03 ERA ball while recording 9.8 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9. So long as he’s able to heal up, the 25-year-old should have many good years ahead of him. And the Diamondbacks have ample time to receive further production, as Weaver will be under team control through at least 2023.