Friday, September 2, 2011

Kyle Gibson to have Tommy John surgery

The annus horribilis that has been the Twins' 2011 gets a bit worse.

Kyle Gibson is to
have the ulnar collateral
ligament in his right
elbow replaced.
Thursday's announcement was expected; I doubt many put much stock in the notion that the Twins' top pitching prospect would be able to avoid the ligament replacement surgery through rehab. The timing of it — it rather closely follows a second opinion that backed the rehab plan — might not have been anticipated.

But the window to make the decision to operate was closing. Surgery now (it's scheduled for Wednesday) gives him, probably, two winters and a full season in which to rehab before pitching again. The worst possible outcome would have been what happened to Pat Neshek, who rehabbed all season and winter only to come to spring training and find that his elbow still needed to be rebuilt. And having the surgery in the spring, as opposed to the fall, means taking the mound in 12 months rather than 18.

In a 2011 that went according to plan, Gibson would already be in the major league rotation. Had everybody in the rotation been effective and healthy, he would at the very least  be a September call-up and expected to take a rotation spot in 2012, making one of the incumbents trade bait.

Almost nothing in 2011 went according to plan.

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