Ryan O’Rourke’s 2017 baseball season is over before it was ever able to start. The former Merrimack pitcher learned this week that he has a partially-torn UCL in his throwing elbow, which will require surgery. The Twins moved O’Rourke to the 60-day disabled list on Monday after his visit with Texas Rangers team physician Keith Meister for a second opinion. Meister diagnosed the partial UCL team after previous MRIs had shown no structural damage.
“We all kind of thought something was up from the fact he didn’t show much improvement the last month,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
O’Rourke told the Pioneer Press that he is considering a modified Tommy John surgery, which could cut the estimated recovery time in half. Tommy John surgery typically requires at least a 12-month recovery time.
“A lot of minor leaguers have done it,” O’Rourke told the paper. “It’s very new, and there’s not really much to go off of. When Tommy John first started, it was the same thing. It was a very new surgery, and not a lot of doctors wanted to do it because they didn’t know. They didn’t want to screw someone up.”
O’Rourke said he is shooting to return for next year’s spring training. Former Twins reliever Mike Pelfrey was able to return from the same surgery after 10 months in 2012.
“Pelf’s a different animal too,” O’Rourke said. “I’d like to think I’m cut from the same cloth that he is. If I could be back throwing in games in spring training, that would be something to shoot for.”