Rangers right-hander Jonathan Hernandez underwent Tommy John surgery on Monday, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. He won’t return to the mound until sometime in 2022. Meanwhile, fellow Rangers righty reliever Matt Bush will miss at least 12 weeks with a flexor strain.
It’s an unfortunate but not unexpected development for Hernandez, who has been on the shelf since March 9 with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. The surgery will at least temporarily derail a promising career, as Hernandez established himself as a key part of the Texas bullpen last season. Thanks in part to a fastball that averaged about 98 mph, the 24-year-old Hernandez registered a 2.90 ERA/3.67 SIERA with a 24.8 percent strikeout rate and a 6.4 percent walk rate over 31 innings – by far the most of any Rangers reliever.
While Bush doesn’t need surgery at this point, it doesn’t mean he’ll avoid going under the knife, with Grant writing that the Rangers will re-evaluate him in six weeks. Bush has already undergone two Tommy John surgeries in the past, and another could be a fatal blow to the 35-year-old’s career. A No. 1 overall pick of the Padres in 2004 and an ex-infielder, Bush reinvented himself as a reliever and had a strong run with the Rangers from 2016-17. But Bush threw just 23 innings from 2018-20 – none during the latter two seasons – and only logged three innings this year before suffering another arm injury.