Padres left-hander Drew Pomeranz will undergo surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon, manager Jayce Tingler told The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Annie Heilbrunn (Twitter links) and other reporters. The procedure will end Pomeranz’s season.
Pomeranz went on the injured list earlier this week due to forearm inflammation, marking the second time that particular injury resulted in an IL stint and the third time overall this season that Pomeranz was sidelined by injury — he missed almost seven weeks in May and June due to a shoulder impingement. When he has pitched, the southpaw has still been very effective, delivering a 1.75 ERA over 25 2/3 relief innings out of San Diego’s bullpen.
Now, the Padres will have to make do without one of their best relievers, as the snake-bitten team has now lost yet another notable pitcher to a season-ending injury. Within the last year, Mike Clevinger, Adrian Morejon, Jose Castillo, Keone Kela, Michel Baez, and Dan Altavilla have all undergone Tommy John surgeries, while Javy Guerra has yet to pitch this season due to a sprained UCL.
A specific timeline on Pomeranz isn’t yet known, as recovery from flexor tendon surgeries can vary depending on the amount of damage. Cardinals righty Miles Mikolas underwent a similar procedure in July 2020 and might have been ready for Opening Day, though Mikolas is something of an imperfect comparison because of several other injury setbacks that delayed his eventual return. As a relief pitcher, Pomeranz wouldn’t have to rebuild quite as much arm strength as a starter, though Pomeranz has had other arm issues throughout his career that could factor into his recuperation.
Pomeranz was a very promising rotation prospect on his way up the minor league ladder, and he showed quite a bit of that promise throughout his first seven seasons but injuries kept hampering his career. The Brewers converted Pomeranz to full-time relief work in 2019 and the results were immediately impressive, as the left-hander posted a 2.39 ERA over his 26 1/3 innings with Milwaukee.
This led the Padres to make a sizable investment in Pomeranz’s bullpen future, as San Diego inked him to a four-year, $34MM free agent deal in November 2019. Between salary and signing bonuses, $20MM remains owed to Pomeranz in 2022-23. As well as Pomeranz pitched when healthy in his first two seasons, this signing might loom as a bit of an albatross depending on Pomeranz’s future health and the Padres’ flexibility under the luxury tax threshold. Ownership is reportedly okay with paying the tax, though we won’t know the limits of this openness until the Padres actually do end up over the tax line.