Rays top pitching prospect has Tommy John surgery

Taylor Guerrieri, a powerful right-hander, was the Rays' top pick in the 2011 draft.
Taylor Guerrieri, a powerful right-hander, was the Rays' top pick in the 2011 draft.
Published July 25, 2013

BOSTON — Top pitching prospect RHP Taylor Guerrieri will be sidelined for at least a full year after having Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery Wednesday.

Guerrieri, 20, had sailed through the first half of his first full season at Class A Bowling Green, going 6-2, 2.01 ERA in 14 starts. But he was given two weeks off due to what the team said was fatigue, then lasted only two innings in his July 15 return before leaving with elbow stiffness.

Guerrieri visited noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday at his clinic near Pensacola, then had what the team termed successful surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Normal rehab and recovery time is at least 12 months; Guerrieri could get back into games by the end of the 2014 season or in the instructional league, but he realistically won't pitch competitively until 2015. Assuming he regains his form, Guerrieri, the Rays' top pick in the 2011 draft, likely is at least three years away from the majors whenever he returns.

"A tough year," farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "We will do everything we can to get him to the big leagues."

LHP Jake McGee, who had similar surgery as a 21-year-old at Double A, said it's tough to deal with being out so long and important to not rush the rehab, but the success rate is encouraging. "You come back just as good," McGee, now 26, said. "I've heard (Guerrieri) throws pretty hard, so even if he drops a couple miles an hour when he comes back, it's not going to hurt him a lot."

RHP Alex Colome, who pitched earlier this season for the Rays, is on the disabled list at Triple-A Durham with an elbow strain but is expected back before the end of the season.

MORE PROSPECT WOES: Tim Beckham, the most advanced infield prospect, was placed on the temporary inactive list at Durham. Team officials said only that he had to go home for "personal reasons." Beckham, the top pick in the 2008 draft, served a 50-game drug suspension last year.

PRICE FACTS: More data on David Price's 5-1 complete-game victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday:

• Price is the first visiting pitcher to throw a nine-inning complete game at Fenway Park on fewer than 100 pitches since Yankees RHP Chien-Ming Wang on April 11, 2008 (93).

• Rays pitchers had no complete games in their first 88 games this season but have five in 14 since. The five complete games in July tie the club record for a month (June 2002).

• Price joined Greg Maddux (2000), Brad Radke (2001) and Mark Mulder (2003) as the only pitchers since at least 1999 to have three complete games of 100 or fewer pitches in a season.

I AM SECOND: 3B Evan Longoria went 1-for-5 Wednesday after being moved up to second in the order as manager Joe Maddon attempted to "unlodge" him from an extended slump; he is hitting .169 through 24 games. Maddon, with no concerns, moved rookie Wil Myers to cleanup: "He kind of digs it a lot.''

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AMAZING ALEX: LHP Alex Torres is set to reach a remarkable milestone, per the Elias Sports Bureau, as just the second pitcher in the past 50 seasons to allow fewer than 10 hits in the first 100 at-bats of the season against him. Torres has allowed eight hits in 99 at-bats. Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman allowed nine in his first 100 at-bats.

REHAB REPORT: The right index finger blister that forced RHP Alex Cobb (concussion) from his Tuesday rehab start after two pitches likely will further delay his return; his next bullpen session and start, planned for Sunday, are expected to be pushed back at least a day. … RHP Brandon Gomes (lat strain) felt good despite poor results in his Tuesday rehab game and will do another Friday.

MISCELLANY: Luke Scott's hustle to prevent an inning-ending double play led to two eighth-inning runs. … Maddon said Desmond Jennings made the right play to go back to third on a poorly placed squeeze attempt by Ben Zobrist. … Sam Fuld's dad, Ken, was drafted to join the usual post-win dance party and came out of the clubhouse with no shirt. … The Rays are an MLB-best 21-11 vs. left-handed starters.