Diamondbacks right-hander J.B. Bukauskas has suffered a grade two tear of his teres major muscle, manager Torey Lovullo told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert and other reporters. A specific timetable is not yet known for Bukauskas’ return, but Lovullo said the righty will miss “months, not weeks.”
Former D’Backs righty Taylor Clarke was cited as possible comp, as Lovullo noted that Clarke suffered a similar injury last season. In that situation, Clarke missed just over a month and a half of action, hitting the injured list on June 15 and being activated on August 5. However, it is probably safe to guess that Bukauskas will be sidelined for a longer amount of time, given that he’ll have to both recover from the injury and then do some extra prep work to make up for missing so much of Spring Training.
The teres major tear is another in a series of injury setbacks for Bukauskas, who missed about six weeks of the 2021 himself himself due to a flexor strain in his throwing elbow. Wrist and other elbow problems have been issues in the past, and Bukauskas also hurt his back during a car accident during Spring Training 2018 when he was a member of the Astros organization.
With all these injuries in mind, it isn’t surprising that Bukauskas has yet to produce much at the big league level. Making his debut last season, he had a 7.79 ERA over 17 1/3 relief innings for the Diamondbacks, though advanced metrics (4.49 SIERA, 4.50 xFIP) were a bit more favorable, accounting for Bukauskas’ .357 BABIP and an absurdly low 47.2% strand rate. That said, Bukauskas didn’t help himself with only a 17.3% strikeout rate, and four homers allowed during his brief time in the Show.
Concerns over Bukauskas’ durability have lingered for a while, though it also wasn’t long ago that he drew some attention on top-100 prospect lists. Houston selected Bukauskas with the 15th overall pick of the 2017 draft, and the righty was one of the key pieces of the four-player package the Astros sent to Arizona for Zack Greinke at the 2019 trade deadline. Bukauskas hasn’t actually started a game at the major or minor league level since 2019 when he was with the Diamondbacks’ Double-A affiliate, and with his injury history only lengthening, it remains to be seen if his future will be as a starter or as a reliever.