Braves pitching prospect Patrick Weigel had “Tommy John” elbow surgery Tuesday and will miss the rest of the season and most if not all of the 2018 season.
Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery, just over a week after Weigel got hit hard in a June 18 start and had lingering elbow soreness the following day.
The Braves’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2016, Weigel was promoted this season from Double-A Mississippi to Triple-A Gwinnett in early May. The 6-foot-6 right-hander went 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA in a five-start stretch at Gwinnett before allowing seven hits, nine runs and three homers in 3 1/3 innings on June 18 against Toledo.
He had an MRI on his right elbow on June 20 that showed ligament damage, and an appointment was made to see Andrews a week later at his clinic in Florida to determine if Tommy John surgery was recommended.
Rehab from the surgery is typically 12-14 months and the Braves adopted a more conservative and cautious rehab protocol in the past couple of years, after several pitchers had lingering issues upon returning from Tommy John surgery at the quicker end of the recovery range.
Before his injury, Weigel was considered the next Braves starting-pitcher prospect ready for a major league call-up the next time another starter was needed. He was 11-6 with a 2.47 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) last season between low Single-A Rome and Double-A Mississippi, with 152 strikeouts and 55 walks in 149 2/3 innings.
Over parts of three minor league seasons, Weigel is 17-11 with a 3.31 ERA in 54 games (53 starts) with 269 strikeouts and 109 walks in 279 2/3 innings.