In 2018, Silvino Bracho did sterling work on the taxi squad, going up and down from Reno to Phoenix so often, he wore a groove in the highway. Over 31 appearances, Bracho had a 3.19 ERA - particularly good, considering these appearances came around nine recalls and nine times being sent down. With no further minor-league options, this performance made it seem very likely that Bracho would become a permanent member of the D-backs bullpen in 2019. However, he exited Sunday’s game in the sixth inning with elbow pain, and was sent to get an MRI. The results from that were not pretty.
Silvino Bracho has a partial UCL tear. Images from his scans have been sent to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion.— Zach Buchanan (@ZHBuchanan) March 5, 2019
It’s a morbid running joke around here, that it feels as if you could ask Dr. Andrews for an opinion on where to eat, and he’d suggest Tommy John surgery. But the mere fact the team are consulting with the nation’s leading expert in that process, does suggest it is almost inevitable that Bracho will be needing to go under the knife. It’s a real shame: after living out of a suitcase in 2018, he deserved the cushion of a steady job this season. Instead, it seems more likely than not that this year will be a lost one, and if Tommy John follows, he may not see a major-league mound again until approaching the All-Star break in 2020.
For the D-backs, their bullpen roster depth will need to be dipped into, even before Opening Day. Nick Green might be the most immediate beneficiary, the Rule 5 pick having looked impressive in his spring outings to date, and needing to find a roster spot or be offered back to the Yankees. Others who will likely move up the D-backs’ depth chart as a result of this injury include Jimmie Sherfy, Matt Andriese, Robby Scott and Marc Rzepczynski. More importantly, we wish Bracho all the best as he recovers, and fingers crossed the prognosis is not the one circling menacingly overhead.
Update, March 6
Sadly, it was indeed the worst-case scenario.
#Dbacks pitcher Silvino Bracho will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair his right UCL.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) March 6, 2019
See you in 2020, Silvino. :(