Detroit Tigers right-handed starter Casey Mize will undergo Tommy John surgery, manager A.J. Hinch told reporters on Friday. The news means that Mize will miss the remainder of the year and, given the usual recovery period, most or perhaps all of the 2023 season.
Typically, Tommy John surgery is required when a pitcher tears his ulnar collateral ligament, but as Jason Beck writes that’s not precisely the case with Mize:
“Mize’s ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow is still intact, but a visit with Dr. Keith Meister showed it has stretched to the point that it has lost elasticity.”
Mize has been sidelined since April 15 with a strained throwing elbow. After almost a month on the injured list, Mize attempted a minor-league rehab assignment. He struggled badly in his first start, and before his second start, the organization decided to dial back his rehab process. That dialing back, however, didn’t yield the desired progress as Mize was shut down from throwing after experiencing continued discomfort while playing catch from 90 feet on flat ground.
Mize, 25, was the first overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Auburn. After posting a 3.71 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 150 1/3 innings last season, the expectation was that he would take another step toward being a frontline starter in 2022. That, obviously, hasn’t happened, and Friday’s news constitutes a worrisome turn of events for a pitcher who’s supposed a long-term core piece for the Tigers.
More broadly, it’s been a season of disappointments in Detroit. Their most promising young hitter, Spencer Torkelson, has stalled out at the highest level, and despite designs on contention the team is presently on pace for 95 losses and in fourth place in MLB‘s weakest division.