Friday, March 7, 2008
The Baltimore Sun has just reported that Troy Patton, the pitching prospect acquired from the Astros in last fall's Miguel Tejada trade, is going to miss the entire 2008 season to undergo surgery for a partially torn labrum that had been bothering him for almost a year.
Sadly, this pretty much spells the end of Patton's career, at the age of 22.
Labrum surgeries are nearly impossible to come back from, and when pitchers do make it back to the majors, which is a rare feat in and of itself, they are mere shadows of their former selves.
You might remember former Oriole Eric DuBose. The former first round draft pick was once a left-handed fire-baller in the A's system, and one of their highest touted prospects, until he underwent a surgery for a torn labrum in 2001.
We all witnessed what happened when he came back from the surgery. DuBose was lucky to hit 90 MPH on the radar gun and continued to struggle with arm stiffness. He pitched 188 innings with the Orioles over 5 seasons and collected a 5.21 ERA.
He bounced around in the minors with the Indians and Rockies last year, but never made it back to the show. He probably never will.
At this point, Patton will be lucky to have a similar fate.
This might cause people to call the Miguel Tejada trade a disaster, but that isn't even close to reality.
The Orioles traded Tejada a day before he was named in the Mitchell Report, which was reason enough to trade him. The Orioles also got back 4 other quality players, which proves that sometimes quantity is better than quality.
Luke Scott will be the starting LF and is a huge upgrade over Jay Payton while 3B/C Mike Costanzo is impressing coaches so far in spring training. He'll probably be on the MLB roster at some point in the season. Reliever Dennis Sarfate is also looking like a shoe-in for the bullpen and pitcher Matt Albers could become a swingman, coming out of the bullpen and starting when needed.
The Orioles knew about Patton's troubles when they acquired him. They wanted to take a risk, and so far it hasn't worked out. At this point, it probably won't. But the Orioles still made out on the Tejada deal.
Here's to hoping that Troy can come back from the surgery and pitch effectively in the majors. After all, he is only 22.
I just hope the kid has a back-up plan if things don't work out.