The news on Monday that Arizona’s young pitching ace-in-waiting, Zac Gallen, had a sore forearm was rather concerning. Unsurprisingly, many fans' thoughts drifted to the worst case scenario, of Tommy John surgery. So it probably comes as a relief to hear manager Torey Lovullo say last night that Gallen actually suffered a hairline stress fracture in his right forearm. Lovullo certainly sounded relieved, calling it "the best news possible, when we were considering what some of the other options are."
It will rule the pitcher out of action for Opening Day next week, and Lovullo isn't sure for how long Gallen will be down, because there have been few if any comparable cases previously. The injury dates back to March 10, when Gallen was taking batting practice. It's thus probably a good sign that he was able to pitch in two games since then, with only minor discomfort. The lingering nature of the issue is what led to further investigation, with an X-ray, MRI and a CT scan eventually revealing the injury.
There's not much which can be done by Gallen and the team, in terms of repair. Time is really the only solution, with most online sources saying six to eight weeks are required for complete healing. Zac will then have to ramp up his pitching again, adding additional time to his absence. Though it may help that (unlike Tyler Clippard's recent injury), he is not being shut down entirely, and can still play catch. Still, I'd not be surprised if there's another four weeks of rehab before Gallen can pitch in the majors. That means late June is perhaps a rough estimate for when he might return.
It's obviously disappointing for Gallen, the team, and for fans. But it could certainly have been worse, and there's no real reason to think this will have any permanent effect on his career. We wish him a speedy recovery, and look forward to seeing him back on the mound at Chase Field in due course.