March 24: Cederlind underwent Tommy John surgery last night, the Pirates announced to reporters (Twitter link via Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). He’ll miss all of the 2021 season and a portion of the 2022 campaign as well.
March 12: The Pirates announced Friday that they’ve placed right-hander Blake Cederlind on the 60-day injured list due to a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Cederlind sustained the injury in Wednesday night’s game, per the team. At this time, he and the Pirates “are discussing what the best recommended intervention is to treat the injury.” Cederlind’s spot on the 40-man roster will be filled by righty Trevor Cahill, whose previously reported one-year deal is now official.
Cederlind, 25, was in the mix for a bullpen spot with the Pirates after making his big league debut with four innings last year. The 2016 fifth-rounder has spent the past few seasons ranked among the organization’s more promising pitching prospects, but today’s announcement means he’ll miss at least the first two months of the season — quite possibly even more than that. The Pirates didn’t reference the possibility of Tommy John surgery, but that’s of course the concern anytime a player experiences a UCL injury.
While Cederlind tossed only four innings last year, he showed plenty of reason for excitement, including a sinker that averaged 98.7 mph out of the bullpen. His last full season of work came in 2019, when he pitched to a combined 2.28 across three levels: Class-A Advanced, Double-A and Triple-A. Control has been an issue through his pro career, as he’s walked 11.3 percent of the opponents he’s faced, but he’s also posted above-average ground-ball rates.
If Cederlind can avoid surgery, it’s possible he’ll emerge as a bullpen option for the Pirates this summer, but it seems the Bucs will take their time in determining the best course of action for the promising young righty.