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A’s right-hander A.J. Griffin will undergo “Tommy John” surgery on his right elbow sometime next week, a source with knowledge of the situation told CSN California on Friday.
The news doesn’t come as a complete shock given that Griffin was shut down from throwing five weeks ago, and his elbow still was bothering him after he recently tried throwing again. A’s manager Bob Melvin told reporters Thursday that Griffin will visit with Houston-area specialist Dr. Thomas Mehlhoff on Tuesday, but the team has yet to announce any further plans beyond that.
Griffin will become the second Oakland starter to be lost for the season due to reconstructive elbow surgery. Jarrod Parker, who was in line to potentially be the A’s Opening Night starter, had his second Tommy John procedure March 25. The general timeframe for recovery from the surgery is considered 12 to 18 months, though timetables vary from pitcher to pitcher.
Griffin was diagnosed with a strained flexor muscle in his elbow back on March 14, and the initital plan was to shut him down for three weeks and re-evaluate. He had been limited to strengthening exercises until he recently tried to throw.
Though it was always unclear when Griffin might return to the rotation, until the decision for surgery came, it seemed that he could have eventually returned at some point this season to provide the rotation a boost.
To this point, the A’s starting staff has been terrific in carrying the load with Parker and Griffin both down. The rotation entered Friday night’s game against Houston with a 2.74 ERA, the best mark in the American League. But with Griffin likely headed for surgery, it raises the question of whether the A’s might explore the trade market for starting depth.