When Dinelson Lamet left the second inning of the final exhibition game, things didn’t look good. He cruised through the first inning in El Paso, but in the second inning something seemed to be wrong. Two uncharacteristically awful pitches led Freddy Galvis to step in to talk to Lamet, and he called the coaches and trainers in. As he walked off the mound, most of us were thinking the same thing: Tommy John.
Manager Andy Green and the rest of the Padre staff did their best to minimize any news. AJ Preller stated that the team wasn’t performing an MRI, that the issue seemed to be muscular rather than related to the infamous ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). Last week it was reported that Lamet was doing some long toss before games, that he was starting a throwing program to try to rehab the injury and avoid the knife. While many were critical of the team’s refusal to MRI Lamet’s elbow, others were quick to point out cases where MRIs may have been misleading, or where pitchers successfully recovered from elbow injury without getting cut.
Well, all of that optimism has now been doused with a bucket of cold water. The team did perform that MRI at some point, and they saw damage. Lamet tried to work back on his own, but the progress (or lack thereof) has led us to where we are now. By opting for Tommy John surgery on his UCL, he will face a long road back to the big leagues, with no guarantee of a return to his current form. A month ago we were looking at Dinelson Lamet as our ace in waiting, coming off a dominant rookie debut campaign followed by an offseason where he had appeared to shore up his weaknesses. Now we can only hope that we see him again, maybe in spring of 2020.