It was announced last night that Tigers reliever Zach Miner will miss the remainder of the season (and well into next season) thanks to a partial ligament tear in his right elbow.
The right hander will undergo Ligament Replacement surgery on Friday after consulting with famed surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum. The surgery, made famous by former Yankee Tommy John, who was the first to successfully return from this operation, will require a minimum of 9-12 months before Miner can return to a mound.
In all likelihood, this is the last we, as Tigers fans, will hear of Miner. He is making $950,000 this season and is entering his second arbitration year. Expect the Tigers to non-tender him this fall, though he could return on a minor league deal while rehabbing from surgery.
Heading into this past off-season, I was adamant that neither Miner, nor Bobby Seay, should be tendered a contract. Both were and neither has thrown a pitch this season (Seay is attempting to avoid surgery for a torn labrum, a possible career-ending injury). Obviously neither myself nor the Tigers knew of that possibility going in, but there didn’t appear to be a need for either of them. Looks like I was right about that one, anyway.
As far as what this means for this season’s Tigers club, not much. Miner was shut down in the middle of camp in Lakeland and hasn’t thrown a pitch since. In his stead, the Tigers bullpen has been the best in baseball, last night’s blowup not withstanding.
As Mike McClary pointed out at the Daily Fungo, this does mean that Brad Thomas can breath a tad easier about his roster spot for now. In addition to that, the Tigers will move Miner to the 60-day disabled list, which means they can add another player to the 40-man roster should the need arise. This gives the team some flexibility should they want to bring up another player who is not currently on the 40-man.
Miner’s Tigers career, if it is indeed over, ends with a 25-20 record over 157 games (35 starts). In that time he posted a 4.24 ERA. He was 7-5 last season.