MLB News

Ken Waldichuk To Undergo Elbow Surgery; A’s To Select Aaron Brooks

Ken Waldichuk Rehabbing From Flexor Strain, UCL Sprain

Athletics left-hander Ken Waldichuk is slated for elbow surgery on Wednesday, per Martín Gallegos of on X, though the club is not providing any details until after the procedure. Additionally, the club is going to select right-hander Aaron Brooks to start Wednesday’s contest, per Gallegos on X. Brooks isn’t on the 40-man roster and will need to be added.

The A’s announced in December that Waldichuk was going through a non-surgical rehab for a strained left flexor tendon and sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. That news came from out of the blue, as the lefty did not spend any time on the injured list in 2023, making 22 starts and 13 relief appearances. He was transferred to the 60-day injured list when the club signed Scott Alexander in February.

Waldichuk tried ramping up a throwing program in April but didn’t seem to make much progress there. Gallegos relayed on X last week that the lefty would be seeing Dr. Neal ElAttrache today. It seems the renowned surgeon recommended that Waldichuk go under the knife, though the full extent of the procedure won’t be publicly known for a few more days.

Since Waldichuk had a UCL sprain, it seems fair to speculate that he may be in line for Tommy John surgery, which would obviously be bad news for him and the club. Acquired from the Yankees as part of the 2022 Frankie Montas trade, Waldichuk has tossed 175 2/3 innings at the big league level since that deal. His 5.28 earned run average in that time wasn’t especially impressive but his 21% strikeout rate, 10% walk rate and 39% ground ball rate were all close to league averages.

The club surely hoped he could progress towards even better results going forward. He tossed 95 innings in the minors in 2022, most of it in Triple-A, with a 2.84 ERA, 34.5% strikeout rate and 9.1% walk rate. Now it seems possible that 2024 could be a lost season, rather than one that saw him take a step up as a major league pitcher. He’s currently on pace to qualify for arbitration after 2025 and reach free agency after 2028.

Waldichuk is one of several Oakland starters currently on the injured list. Freddy Tarnok, Luis Medina, Joe Boyle and Paul Blackburn are also on the shelf, with Blackburn landing there earlier today due to a stress reaction of the fifth metatarsal of his right foot. Gallegos relays that Blackburn will be in a walking boot for at least two weeks, making his future timeline unclear.

Alex Wood is also battling a shoulder injury,…

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