Aug. 12: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes that Curtiss is getting a second opinion, but Tommy John surgery indeed seems to be on the table.
Aug. 11: The Brewers announced that right-hander John Curtiss has been diagnosed with a torn UCL in his throwing elbow. The reliever left his appearance against the Cubs last night with elbow soreness, and he’s unfortunately suffered a significant injury. The team didn’t specify the severity of the injury, nor did they make any mention of Tommy John surgery. It’s possible that Curtiss is still exploring alternative means of treatment, but it seems he’s in for an extended absence no matter which course of action he chooses.
Curtiss has made just six appearances with Milwaukee after being acquired from the Marlins in a deadline-day swap. He was blown up for five runs in his team debut, but Curtiss had better results in his five other contests and has had a strong season overall. The 28-year-old tossed 44 1/3 innings of 3.45 ERA ball between Miami and Milwaukee, following up on a quality campaign with the Rays in 2020. Going back the past two seasons, he has a 2.86 ERA across 69 1/3 frames. His 24.1% strikeout rate is league average, but he’s been excellent at avoiding free passes (5.2% walk rate) after struggling with wildness throughout much of his minor league career.
Milwaukee hasn’t specified a timeline for Curtiss’ recovery, but it would be very surprising if he didn’t miss the rest of this season. Should he ultimately require a Tommy John procedure, he’d very likely be sidelined for the entire 2022 campaign as well. Curtiss won’t reach arbitration eligibility until 2023, so there’d be little financial cost for Milwaukee in holding onto him even if he requires a lengthy rehab process. Curtiss would have to occupy a spot on the 40-man roster throughout the winter if the Brew Crew want to ensure they retain his rights long-term, though.
For the time being, Curtiss has been placed on the 10-day injured list, as has lefty Angel Perdomo (lower back strain). The Brewers activated righty Justin Topa from the 60-day IL and recalled southpaw Hoby Milner from Triple-A Nashville, with Topa’s reinstatement filling the 40-man roster. The 30-year-old hasn’t pitched all season on account of a flexor tendon strain.