I’ve been openly wondering for some time why pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino, whom the Cubs received from the Braves last year in the Paul Maholm/Reed Johnson deal, hasn’t been pitching anywhere in the Cubs’ system, not even Extended Spring Training. He had Tommy John surgery last year, but had well passed the typical time period during which pitchers start throwing competitively.
It turns out that he had to have an additional elbow surgery after a calcification built up, according to multiple reports. The surgery, debridement, is not overly serious, and it seems like his reconstructed elbow ligament is fine. Unfortunately, this surgery threw his entire recovery timeline off, and now he won’t throw again for another six weeks, and then he’ll build back up from there. He may yet pitch in the Cubs’ system in the second half, but no one has any illusions that he’ll pitch with the big team.
In some ways, this isn’t a terribly big deal, as he wasn’t exactly going to be helping the Cubs make the playoffs this year. On the other hand, it would have been nice for the Cubs to be able to see this year what they had in Vizcaino so that they could plan accordingly for 2014. Now, even if he comes back and pitches well late in the year at AA/AAA, it’s not as if the Cubs can count on him in any meaningful capacity in 2014.
Tommy John surgery is not a silver bullet, and the Cubs have had exceptionally bad luck with it in recent memory. Hopefully this setback for Vizcaino is minor, and we see plenty of him in 2014. He’s still only 22, after all.