Oakland Athletics' right-hander AJ Griffin appears to be the latest pitcher to succumb to the curse of Tommy John, as the 26-year-old will undergo the procedure in Houston tomorrow, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. The decision comes on the advice of Dr. Thomas Mehlhoff, who will perform the surgery. The surgery should keep Griffin out until at least mid-2015
AJ Griffin will have tommy john surgery. It's like an epidemic among good young starters. #athletics— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) April 29, 2014
Griffin was shut down in mid-March with flexor tendinitis in his throwing arm. He resumed throwing last week, but felt discomfort in his elbow, making Tommy John a near inevitable solution.
Drafted in the 13th round of the 2010 draft, Griffin joined Oakland's rotation full-time halfway through the 2012 season. In 47 starts since his June 2012 call up, Griffin is 21-11 with a 3.60 ERA, 4.34 FIP, 105 ERA+, 3.22 K/BB, and 4.3 WAR. Before his injury, he was expected to once again play a key role in the Athletics' rotation this season.
Griffin's surgery marks the second such procedure obtained by an Athletics starter this year, following Oakland's ace, Jarrod Parker. Without Griffin and Parker, the Athletics have had to make due with a rotation of Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez, Dan Straily, and Tommy Milone (along with a spot-start from Josh Lindblom). The unit has been spectacular so far, posting a combined 2.89 ERA (6th in the majors), and playing an instrumental role in Oakland's early-season success (they currently sit atop the AL West standings with a 16-10 record).