During Spring Training this year, Twins top prospect Kyle Gibson impressed Ron Gardenhire and the Twins coaching staff so much that it only seemed like a matter of time before he was given a shot with the club. Gibson has spent the year at AAA and many thought he would be called up by now, if not by next month for September call-ups.
Now it appears that won’t be happening. Gibson was placed on the DL with a strained flexor muscle and is coming to Minnesota to be examined by doctors on Monday. He will have an MRI done on his right elbow and may require Tommy John Surgery.
Gibson has been feeling discomfort in his elbow for some time now and his performances of late have begun to show that. In his last eight games, he is 0-5 with a 6.47 ERA. With the inflammation not going away, the Twins decided to shut him down for the time being and see if anything is seriously wrong.
If Gibson does require Tommy John Surgery, it could be a huge blow to the Twins in the near future. Many thought (myself included) that he would be in the rotation to start next season. If the surgery is required, Gibson will miss almost all of and maybe the entire season next year.
As we saw with Twins pitcher Fransisco Liriano, it sometimes takes another year to get back to true form. In 2008, the year Liriano returned after Tommy John; he had a 3.91 ERA in 76 innings pitched (14 games started). 2009 was much worse, Liriano struggled and ended up with a 5.80 ERA in 136.2 innings pitched (24 starts). Last year was the one Liriano finally seemed to move past his surgery and return to form. He posted a 3.62 ERA in 191.2 innings pitched with 201 strikeouts (31 games started).
Gibson is young (23) which gives the Twins plenty of time to wait but it would be devastating news for the Twins if he does need the surgery. Gibson has a very bright future with the organization, chances are very high he could be a top of the rotation pitcher for years to come.
But there is no guarantee any pitcher comes back fully healthy after Tommy John. We will all be holding our breath awaiting the news next week. Hopefully it is positive or the future of the Twins rotation could be in some trouble.
video below courtesy of 1500ESPN.com