Royals starting pitcher Luke Hochevar delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the second inning of a win on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Earlier this week, the Royals announced that relief pitcher Luke Hochevar would be out until May -- in a best-case scenario -- due to a sprained ulnar-collateral ligament in his throwing elbow.
Friday, Royals manager Ned Yost told reporters (via Kansas City Star) that the course of action now is Tommy John surgery for the right-hander.
The Royals led the AL in bullpen ERA by a hearty margin last season with a 2.55 mark (the Rangers were second at 2.91), so they won't be devastated in terms of bullpen depth.
Hochevar, though, logged the most innings (70 1/3) out of the 'pen and had a 1.92 ERA with a 0.83 WHIP and 82 strikeouts. He was set to open the season along with All-Star closer Greg Holland as one of the best -- and most underrated -- back-end duos in the majors.
Instead, it'll be a lost season for Hochevar. The recovery period for Tommy John surgery is typically around a year. Even the fastest of recoveries wouldn't have him pitching in games again this season.
That's pretty bad news for Hochevar, and not just the lost season thing. He's set to hit free agency after this season.
Posted by J.B. Bauersfeld