Astros right-hander Tyler Ivey’s season may be over due to injury, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle writes. Ivey has been pitching through elbow pain since suffering a grade one UCL strain back in 2019, a fact he only recently disclosed to Astros staff. Tests didn’t reveal any new UCL damage, however, according to a nerve specialist, Ivey said “apparently I have the nerve endings of a 75-year-old man in my elbow. That probably explains a lot.”
Rather than elbow surgery, Ivey might potentially have to undergo thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. The latter would also rule him out for the rest of the 2021 season and is perhaps a more ominous possibility than a Tommy John procedure or another elbow surgery, since TOS surgery has a much less-established track record of success. Whether a surgical outcome is necessary or not, Ivey doubts he will pitch again this season.
A third-round pick for Houston in the 2017 draft, Ivey is a Texas native, hailing from the Dallas suburb of Rowlett. MLB Pipeline ranks Ivey as the ninth-best prospect in the Astros’ farm system, with a 60-grade curveball and a 55-grade fastball ranging from 90-95mph. The righty has posted some strong numbers (3.19 ERA, 29.7% strikeout rate, 7.9% walk rate) over 208 2/3 innings in the minors, though he does have a 7.11 ERA in 6 1/3 innings at Triple-A this season, which represented his first exposure to Triple-A batters. Beyond the injury, Ivey also didn’t pitch at either Houston’s alternate training site or in the instructional league in 2020 due to a bout of COVID-19.
Despite these struggles, the Astros called Ivey up for his MLB debut in a start on May 21, and his lone big league appearance to date resulted in four earned runs allowed in 4 2/3 innings against the Rangers in 7-5 Astros loss. Ivey said his desire to reach the majors was the reason for hiding his injury, saying “I knew it was going to be a spot start and I’d be optioned down immediately, so I thought I’d see how long I could go in this start. I can’t sit there and be like ’Oh, I can’t pitch in Arlington, arm’s kind of hurting, sorry.’ ”
With Ivey facing a stint on the 60-day injured list, the Astros will get an opening on their 40-man roster to work with in the coming weeks. Ivey was initially placed on the 40-man last November in advance of the Rule 5 draft.