The Orioles received some grim news regarding left-hander Josh Rogers, as an MRI revealed structural damage in his left ulnar collateral ligament, Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun writes. Rogers will seek a second opinion from Dr. Keith Meister, but Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes that Rogers is expected to require Tommy John surgery. Rogers explained that he felt “something different” in his elbow when exiting a recent start and acknowledged that the “level of concern for everybody is pretty high.”
If Rogers does ultimately go under the knife, it’ll be his second Tommy John surgery. He also underwent the procedure during his senior year of high school before recovering to enjoy a solid two seasons at Louisville. The Yankees selected Rogers in the 11th round of the 2015 draft and traded him to Baltimore last year in the Zack Britton swap.
Rogers would be the second upper-level arm acquired by the Orioles last summer to require Tommy John surgery this season. Right-hander Zach Pop, acquired from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado deal, underwent Tommy John surgery last month after pitching just 10 2/3 frames of Double-A ball this season.
The 24-year-old Rogers hasn’t pitched well in the Majors or in Triple-A this season, although it’s certainly possible that the state of his elbow impacted his results. He’s pitched to an ERA north of 8.00 in 55 Triple-A frames and in 14 1/3 MLB innings as well. That’s a vast departure from last season, when he tossed a combined 139 2/3 innings of 3.54 ERA ball between the Triple-A affiliates of the Yankees and the Orioles. While he’s not considered a premium prospect, Rogers ranked 28th among Baltimore farmhands heading into the season, according to Baseball America, who tabbed him as a potential fifth starter.
Even a serviceable fifth starter would be a welcome sight for the O’s, who haven’t received competitive outings from the final two spots of their rotation all season. David Hess is third on the team in games started but carries a 7.36 ERA. The trio of Gabriel Ynoa, the out-for-the-season Alex Cobb and the recently outrighted Dan Straily have combined for 17 starts but yielded 68 runs in 73 1/3 innings. Rogers was expected to be a rotation option in Baltimore this season but would be a non-factor until the second half of the 2020 campaign, at the earliest, if he requires surgery.