Tigers lefty Joey Wentz has undergone Tommy John surgery, according to a team announcement. He’s expected to be sidelined for 14 to 16 months, the team provides.
This decision didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, as Wentz had dealt with forearm issues this spring. But the 22-year-old had gone back on the mound recently in hopes of moving past the health problems and preparing for the season.
Just what precipitated the decision on a surgical approach isn’t know. It’s certainly possible that Wentz suffered a setback or that the decision tipped towards an invasive procedure given the delay of the 2020 campaign.
Regardless, it’s now clear that Wentz won’t take the mound again for competitive action until the middle of the 2021 season. The Tigers won’t have any 40-man roster issues to worry about for the 2020 season, as Wentz wasn’t yet on it. But he would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this coming winter if he isn’t protected.
It’s unfortunate timing for Wentz, who trended up after last summer’s swap. In his five Double-A outings with the Tigers organization, he spun 25 2/3 innings of 2.10 ERA ball while racking up an impressive 37:4 K/BB ratio.