Reds right-hander Tyler Thornburg underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (Twitter link). Thornburg was placed on the 10-day injured list with an elbow sprain eight days ago and then shifted to the 45-day IL last Monday, officially ending his season.
Given the usual 12-15 month recovery time associated with Tommy John procedures, Thornburg will almost certainly miss the entire 2021 season. It is the latest in a series of tough injuries for the 31-year-old, who has been limited to 269 1/3 innings and 192 appearances in the big leagues since 2012. Thornburg previously missed the entire 2017 season and much of 2018 due to thoracic outlet syndrome surgery.
These constant health woes kept Thornburg from realizing what seemed like a high ceiling as a relief pitcher. Thornburg had two outstanding seasons with the Brewers in 2013 and 2016, though elbow problems limited him in 2014-15. In the wake of that strong 2016 campaign, Milwaukee sent Thornburg to the Red Sox as part of a notable trade that brought Travis Shaw and Mauricio Dubon to the Brew Crew, though injuries limited Thornburg to just 42 2/3 innings in a Boston uniform before the Sox released him partway through the 2019 season.
A minor league deal with the Dodgers didn’t result in any MLB time in Los Angeles, though Thornburg resurfaced after inking a minors deal with Cincinnati over the winter. Thornburg posted a 3.86 ERA, 12.9 K/9, and 2.00 K/BB rate over what might wind up as his only seven innings for the Reds, and his fastball still clocked at 93.1 mph.