The Pirates placed starter JT Brubaker on the 60-day injured list over the weekend, officially keeping him out of action through late May. The right-hander has been dealing with discomfort in his throwing elbow, a nebulous but alarming issue for any pitcher.
While the Pirates haven’t yet provided a formal diagnosis or treatment plan, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Tommy John surgery is among the considerations. That’s not to say surgery is inevitable or necessarily likely, but it affirms Brubaker is dealing with a potentially serious issue.
Brubaker had entered spring camp assured of a spot in the Pittsburgh rotation. He took the ball 28 times last year, ranking second on the team with 144 innings. He allowed 4.69 earned runs per nine. That uninspiring mark was paired with more interesting peripherals, as he posted roughly average strikeout, walk and grounder rates. Brubaker punched out 22.8% of opponents, walked batters at an 8.4% clip and kept the ball on the ground 44% of the time.
An elevated .334 batting average on balls in play contributed to Brubaker’s mediocre results. Had his ERA more closely approached his passable underlying marks, he could have generated some attention at this summer’s trade deadline. Instead, Brubaker is going to miss at least a good chunk of the first half and could wind up needing season-ending surgery. He has exactly three years of major league service and qualified for arbitration last offseason, agreeing to a $2.275MM salary. He remains controllable through 2025.
With Brubaker on the shelf, righty Johan Oviedo has stepped into the starting five. Acquired from the Cardinals in last summer’s José Quintana/Chris Stratton trade, the 25-year-old Oviedo started seven games for Pittsburgh down the stretch. In 30 2/3 frames, he put up a 3.23 ERA despite walking nearly 12% of opponents. His ’23 season debut didn’t go well, as he was tagged for five runs (including three homers) over 4 2/3 innings during tonight’s outing in Boston. Mitch Keller, Rich Hill, Vince Velasquez and Roansy Contreras round out the present starting staff.
Bummer.. Sucks for JT. For his sake hope he decides sooner than later so that he has a shot to return next season on not lose 2 whole seasons.
Good thing is he got to arbitration and got his first real money. He should get offerred arbitration again so at the very least, he’ll have two years in the majors making seven-figure salaries.
Notif cut off and I was expecting Andrew Painter news, because things couldn’t possibly get WORSE for the Phillies.
careful saying that because more times than not as soon as you say it can’t get much worse it does, at least in my experience and it happens often enough that i don’t say anymore lol
Nooooo, dude is such a nice guy. Signed a baseball and my hat when I was in Pittsburgh. Doing autos for everyone it was awesome
Being nice doesn’t save anyone from dreaded Tommy John Surgery!
We’ll at least Bryan Reynolds has signed long term, it’s not the end of the world in Pittsburgh.
when did Reynolds sign a long term deal?
As I can always expect from you, you’re wrong again
It was a poor attempt at humor
University of Akron legend, go zips
That’s going to cost money. I say they’ll just rub some dirt on it and say go get em! Doctors and Hospitals are expensive.
Agreed. I had colon cancer, so I shoved some dirt up there. Not your fancy hospital dirt, but still quality dirt. It worked.
I don’t agree with boomers when it comes to much, except when it comes to putting dirt in orifices. It’s like every dude older than 60 swears on the healing power of putting gross things up their butt
Well you’re supposed to rub it on your elbow. No wonder it never worked for you. You’re doing it wrong. Stuff is only supposed to come OUT your A**.
But…it did work for me. My entire comment was saying how it worked.
Also, I know we are all just commenters and not actual friends, but uncle Mike is doing a huge disservice to how we in America treat our butts. It’s a two way street, in and out. It’s science, pressurization every-time we make a move. Don’t let him lie to you.
y’all forgot one important ingredient for successful recovery and that’s robitussin, everyone knows you gotta mix the tussin in with the dirt then apply.
That would be a major blow to the pitching staff if he does need surgery this year. But for individual purposes and concerns, I wish him the best possible recovery and hope for the best for him
If you haven’t had TJS by your senior year in high school, you’re behind…
If it is being thrown around then it is most likely the best option. Surgery in the near future allows Brubaker to return sometime in the second half of next season. Prolonging what is likely the inevitable at this point and then we’re saying “see you in ’25”
Back in the olden days, you had an occasional pitcher hitting 90 on the gun but you had starters going full games, too
Now in the modern era, you have everyone and their grandmother throwing at 90+, starters going 5 innings and Tommy John surgeries serving almost as a rite of passage
Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure what modern pitching evolution is doing to arms
Many guys come back stronger and faster but still you wonder if it’s worth the cost
That said, I feel badly for Brubaker. Really was making strides this spring
tbh i think it’s just more than throwing hard and more of multiplier or layer effect that starts in the select little leagues. you now have kids playing bb all year round with little breaks and teaching them off speed stuff, i remember when i played ll we weren’t allowed to throw nothing but fast balls until 8th grade. also i think the use of metal bats isn’t helping either, because if you don’t square up on the ball you feel that vibration up your arm. then add in going 100+% every throw from a young age until now and no real rest in the offseason eventually something is going to break down.
Very well stated and completely agree. I remember your comment about fastballs-only through Little and even Pony League
Has to be a correlation between what you’ve detailed and the wear and tear on the arm from a young age. I know some folks say that young pitchers don’t mind having the TJ surgery because they come back stronger and faster but from where I sit, any surgery has possible negatives too
i’m of the belief that going under the knife should be the last option, even with advances in medicine having surgery no matter how routine is never a good thing.