The night after Patrick Corbin delivered the best start by a Diamondback pitcher in almost 14 years, the team received a blow in the same part of the roster. For it turns out the optimism which Taijuan Walker felt about his early exit from a start in Los Angeles proved mis-placed. The “forearm tightness” which caused his removal was indeed the result of a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), and repairing this will require Tommy John surgery. Basically, you can write Walker off until at least the All-Star break in 2019.
The team will turn to Matt Koch as a replacement starter, beginning on Friday. Hopefully, there will be no further major issues in the rotation over the next couple of months, as the team still waits for Shelby Miller to return from the same UCL issue. He is still some way off, and as well as an uncertain return date, it’s still not clear how effective he will be when he comes back. We will Taijuan all the best, and hopefully his return will prove to be as successful as Patrick Corbin’s. This means that 60% of our 2017 Opening Day rotation will now have had Tommy John at some point: fingers crossed UCL tears are not infectious, and Robbie Ray/Zack Greinke remain healthy!