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Marlins lose Max Meyer to Tommy John surgery

A torn UCL will sideline the former top draft pick for the rest of 2022 and likely all of 2023 as well.

Photo by Danis Sosa/Fish Stripes

Max Meyer’s rise to the majors was slowed by an arm injury that he suffered earlier this season. A couple weeks after entering the Marlins starting rotation, his career has been interrupted by another one. Meyer lasted 10 pitches into his start against the Pirates on Saturday before departing with right elbow discomfort. He underwent an MRI, revealing a torn UCL which will require Tommy John surgery to repair, the Marlins announced Thursday morning.

The procedure will be performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, likely during the second week of August, per Craig Mish of SportsGrid.

Meyer reluctantly called to the Marlins dugout for assistance after issuing a two-out walk to Ke’Bryan Hayes in the bottom of the first inning. Even before that, the 23-year-old right-hander recognized that there was a physical issue. He deliberately walked around in between each of his final three pitches instead of staying on the mound.

While with Triple-A Jacksonville, Meyer was diagnosed with ulnar nerve irritation. He went more than one month between Triple-A appearances—from May 17 to June 22—and needed even longer to get fully stretched out for a starter’s workload. Then, almost immediately after getting a well-deserved promotion, this happens.

Daniel Castano started in Meyer’s place against the Reds on Thursday and had the misfortune of suffering a first-inning injury of his own. Castano was a rotation placeholder for Jesús Luzardo, who’s in the final stages of rehabbing from a forearm strain. Luzardo is currently on the 60-day IL and will need a 40-man roster spot to be reinstated. The Marlins can create an opening him for him by transferring Meyer to the 60-day.

The Marlins evidently have a lot of trust in Dr. ElAttrache. He also performed recent surgeries on Sixto Sánchez (July 2021), Jake Eder (August 2021), Brian Anderson (September 2021) and Sean Guenther (April 2022), among others.

Starting pitchers coming off Tommy John typically need at least one full year to return to their previous level of competition. The Marlins must plan for the 2023 season under the premise that Meyer won’t contribute.