A’s right-hander A.J. Griffin underwent 'Tommy John' surgery on his right elbow, the team announced Wednesday.
Dr. Thomas Mehlhoff performed the reconstructive procedure in Houston, repairing the ulnar collateral ligament in Griffin’s elbow. The timetable for recovery typically is 12 to 18 months, so a relatively normal recovery period could have Griffin back on the mound sometime during the 2015 season.
He is the second member of Oakland’s rotation to be sidelined for the entire 2014 season by 'Tommy John' surgery. Jarrod Parker underwent the procedure, the second of his career, on March 25.
Griffin, 21-11 with a 3.60 ERA in two major league seasons, was projected to fit in somewhere in the middle of the A’s rotation this season until elbow pain sidelined him in mid-March. Extended rest was the original prescription, but his elbow didn’t show any improvement after he tried to throw.
Mehlhoff also performed 'Tommy John' surgery for A’s reliever Fernando Rodriguez last year. He has made a full recovery and is currently in the Triple-A Sacramento bullpen.
Oakland’s rotation has been stellar this season, leading the American League with a 2.97 ERA entering Wednesday’s series finale at Texas. But given the hit their pitching depth has taken, it brings up the question of whether the A’s might search outside the organization for more pitching as the season wears on and the trade deadline approaches.
It seems unlikely the A’s would swing a deal for a marquee starter given the price tag that would come attached. Their farm system isn’t flush with blue-chip prospects in the upper levels. They’re also unlikely to deal their best prospect, shortstop Addison Russell.
But they might seek out a back-of-the-rotation type addition at some point. Figure that decision will hinge partly on how well the starters continue to perform as the summer approaches and the July 31 trade deadline gets closer.