Dane Dunning May Require Surgery On Throwing Elbow

It’s as if White Sox fans haven’t suffered enough punishment this offseason.

Thursday, the south side faithful endured another gut-punch after learning right-handed pitching prospect Dane Dunning may eventually need Tommy John surgery, according to General Manager Rick Hahn.

The 24-year-old experienced discomfort in his right forearm in late February as he worked his way back from an elbow injury suffered in June of last year. At the time, the injury was described as a “moderate elbow sprain” and the White Sox shut Dunning down for the rest of 2018.

After a monitored offseason recovery program that included an encouraging bullpen session in October of 2018, White Sox Director of Player Development, Chris Getz, noted Dunning was ready to resume all baseball related activities without restriction. The elbow issue flared up again, but the initial examination deemed there was no tear.

No tear means no surgery. However, it appears Dunning is clearly dealing with a serious issue in his throwing arm and will be evaluated again early next week.

The update is brutal for Sox fans, who are pleading to hear any bit of news that isn’t considered “bad.” But what about Dunning? Had his elbow not been an issue, the 24-year-old would have likely broken camp with the Big-League club this year. The matter must be devastating for a guy who performed exceptionally well in 62 Double-A innings before being shut down last season.

The starter is ranked the sixth-best prospect in the White Sox system, according to our Preseason Top-30 Prospect report. In sort of a backwards sense, Tommy John surgery may be the best-case scenario in this situation.

Through 230.1 innings pitched in the Sox system (A-AA), Dunning owns a 2.86 ERA to go along with 268 strikeouts compared to 64 walks.

Typically, elbow injuries linger without a procedure to fix the problem. The problem in Dunning’s case is, at the moment, there is nothing for surgeons to fix. There is just pain.

If Dunning undergoes Tommy John, it would mark the fourth top prospect in the system to suffer the injury, joining Zack Burdi, Micker Adolfo and Michael Kopech.

Tommy John surgery typically requires a 12-15-month recovery for pitchers, Dunning’s timeline to return would be around May/June of 2020. Assuming all goes well with his rehab, he could be back for the tail-end of his 25-year-old season. Realistically, Dunning would look to make an impact with the White Sox in his age 26 season.

Good news must be on the horizon for White Sox fans. I mean, the Law of Balance and Polarity, right? Everything evens out in the end? Take the bad with the good? Karma? Anyone? Hello?

Filed under: Focus

Tags: dane dunning

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