MLB Injury News: May, Robert, Kirk

Dusti May With Luis Robert And Alejandro Kirk

  • Dodgers right-hander Dustin May has been diagnosed with UCL damage in his right elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery
  • White Sox outfielder Luis Robert has suffered a torn hip flexor and will miss 3-4 months of action
  • Blue Jays rookie catcher Alejandro Kirk has also suffered a hip flexor injury and is expected to be out for six weeks

As a 10-game MLB schedule unfolds on this Monday evening, let’s take a look at some injury news from around the big leagues.

May to Undergo Tommy John Surgery

In the most devastating injury news of the day, 23-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Dustin May has been diagnosed with UCL damage in his right elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery as a result, as per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

Additionally, Juan Toribio of notes that May will undergo the procedure on May 11.

The fire-balling righty left his start against the Brewers on Saturday with elbow discomfort after just 1.2 innings with what was originally a right forearm strain, an ominous pre-cursor for the dreaded TJ surgery.

Given the typical 12-15 month timeline for starting pitchers returning from the operation, May will miss the remainder of the 2021 season and likely at least the first couple months of the 2022 campaign, if not more.

May debut as a top prospect in the 2019 season, making four starts and 10 relief appearances for the Dodgers, working to a 3.63 ERA/2.90 FIP in the process while his 1.30 BB/9 and 0.52 HR/9 were marvelous figures to boot.

He would enter the Dodgers rotation on a full-time basis in the shortened 2020 season, dazzling with a four-seam fastball that averaged 98.8 mph, but also a sinker with nasty movement at a cool 98.2 mph as well. May turned in a 2.57 ERA across 10 starts, 12 appearances and 56 innings of regular-season work before chipping in 3.86 ERA across 14 postseason innings out of the bullpen en route to a World Series championship.

He had posted a stout 2.74 ERA/3.24 FIP across five starts and 23 innings this season before having his year excruciatingly cut short.

Tony Gonsolin and David Price are both options to enter the Dodgers’ loaded rotation in May’s stead, although Price is dealing with an injured hamstring while Gonsolin is in the midst of getting stretched out as a starter, even prior to May’s injury.

Robert Tears Hip Flexor

Luis Robert, the 2020 AL Rookie of the Year runner up, has suffered a Grade 3 strain of his hip flexor, otherwise known as a torn muscle that will keep him out of baseball for 12-16 weeks, as per the team’s general manager Rick Hahn.

Robert was injured himself running the bases in the first innings of Sunday’s contest against the rival Cleveland Indians. He will be reevaluated to determine whether surgery or rehab is the proper way to proceed in the recovery.

“Those options include surgical repair if in fact the tear has affected the tendon’s attachment to the bone,” Hahn said. “Or a rehabilitation process in which natural healing will take place if the tear is to the muscle, as opposed to the attachment.

Hahn also noted the timeline is the same regardless if surgery or rehab is the decided course of recovery.

The White Sox have endured some tough injury luck en route to a 15-12 record through 27 games. Robert joins another young star in Eloy Jimenez on the long-term injury front after the latter tore a chest muscle in spring training while leaping at the wall to make a catch. Shortstop Tim Anderson got a late start to the season with a lower-body injury of his own while outfielder Adam Engel is currently sidelined with a hamstring issue. Additionally, former rotation member Reynaldo Lopez has double cornea surgery after experiencing blurred vision of late, removing additional starting pitching depth from the alternate training site for the time being.

Robert was the first-half front-runner for the AL ROY award last season before his production cratered in August and September. He finished the season with 11 homer runs, nine steals, a .738 OPS and 101 wRC+ while playing stellar center field defense en route to a 1.5 fWAR across 56 games.

He was hitting .316 with a 136 wRC+ and 1.1 fWAR through 25 games this season, although his power was down to a single home run and .147 ISO across 103 trips to the plate.

Kirk Out 6 Weeks With Hip Flexor Strain

It’s been a difficult day for hip flexors on Monday as the same injury will cost Blue Jays rookie catcher Alejandro Kirk six weeks of his 2021 season, as per Sportsnet’s Ben Wagner.

Kirk was placed on the IL on Sunday, a day after suffering the injury. The 22-year-old debuted with 25 trips to the plate last season and mashed his way to a .375/.400/.583 slash line with a homer and 166 wRC+ in that small sample.

He’s hitting just .225 on the 2021 season across 46 plate appearances, but also had three homers to his credit including a two-homer game that made him the youngest Blue Jays catcher in franchise history to homer twice in the same game.

Kirk made the jump to the big leagues last season after last appearing in 71 games at the High-A level in 2019. It certainly appears as if the youngster’s bat will play at the big-league level, although he did post a -3 Defensive Runs Saved in 94 innings behind the plate this season, as per FanGraphs, while Statcast pegs him in the league’s 51st percentile in terms of his framing work here in the 2021 campaign.

Danny Jansen, 26, is likely to get the bulk of playing time behind the plate with Kirk sidelined. Jansen has struggled at the plate this season, hitting just .083 (4 for 38) with one RBI and a -12 wRC+ across 54 trips to the plate. The righty-swinging backstop owns a career .198/.288/.349 slash line with 22 home runs and a 72 wRC+ across 680 career big-league plate appearances.

The Blue Jays have also promoted catcher Riley Adams from the alternate training site as the yet-to-debut 24-year-old could get some reps of his own if Jansen can’t turn it around at the plate.

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