Cincinnati Reds: Hunter Greene’s path to the majors takes a detour

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 15: Hunter Greene #3 pitches against the World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 15: Hunter Greene #3 pitches against the World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Hunter Greene , the Cincinnati Reds’ No. 3 prospect, suffered a torn UCL and will require Tommy John surgery. While it’s definitely a setback, Greene’s positive attitude will help him overcome the adversity.

Hunter Greene suffered a setback in his rehab earlier this spring. It was revealed yesterday that the Cincinnati Reds‘ No. 3 prospect and former first-round pick suffered a torn UCL in his right elbow and will require Tommy John surgery. Don’t overreact folks, we’ve seen plenty of young pitchers deal with this before.

Green was drafted out of high school with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. Greene can light up the radar gun, routinely hitting 100-plus MPH with his fastball. Greene was cruising up through Reds’ minor league system until last summer when he suffered a UCL strain in July.

The Cincinnati Reds and Greene jointly decided to rehab the injury rather than have surgery early on, but this latest setback demands that Tommy John is the answer. While it’s likely to keep Greene out of action for the entire 2019 season and part of 2020, Greene’s spirits are high and he’s taking the news in stride.

According to Greene’s Twitter post, he’s in great shape and great spirits and he will have the surgery performed next week by Dr. Neil ElAttrache. Dr. ElAttrache is no stranger to treating high profile clients, as he’s performed surgery on Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zach Greinke and former NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant. I think it’s safe to say that Greene is in good hands.

Greene is unlikely to even pick up a baseball for 9-12 months, as the timetable for recovery from Tommy John surgery is usually over a year. Greene obviously isn’t the first pitcher to encounter this type of injury, as many of the game’s greats have undergone the same procedure.

Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo comes to mind. Arroyo underwent the procedure in 2014. Homer Bailey also had Tommy John in 2015. I know, I’m not instilling a lot of confidence in you with these names. Arroyo was in the twilight of his career when the injury occurred and Bailey never regained his form following his surgery. Let me see if I can try a little harder.

How about Patrick Corbin. The left-hander just signed a huge deal with the Washington Nationals following a great season in 2018. You Darvish went under the knife in 2015 and returned to the All-Star Game in 2017. Still not inspiring a lot of confidence, huh? Don’t worry.

Have you ever heard of Jacob deGrom? I thought so. Last year’s Cy Young Award winner underwent the surgery in 2010. He’s arguably the best pitcher in baseball and just signed a huge contract extension with the New York Mets. There’s also Nathan Eovaldi who’s undergone the procedure twice.

Éric Gagné, Matt Harvey, Greg Holland, John Lackey, Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan, Stephen Strasburg, the list goes on and on. Perhaps the most famous pitcher to ever undergo the procedure was John Smoltz, who became the first pitcher ever elected to the Hall of Fame after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

The point is, while this isn’t and should never be considered a routine procedure, many prominent and successful major league pitchers have undergone Tommy John surgery and went on to have fantastic careers. I expect the same from Hunter Greene.

Hunter Greene is a phenomenal prospect, but appears to be an even better person off the field. Greene has invested his time in initiatives to help homeless people with the “WeSeeYou” Homeless Drive that, thanks in part to his Twitter followers, netted 1,372 pairs of glasses to the homeless community in California this past holiday season.

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Greene has participated in similar charity initiatives in the past, including Compton’s 14th annual Turkey Giveaway. It’s a shame that fans might have to wait a little longer until Greene shows up in the Queen City with a Cincinnati Reds’ uniform on. But, when he finally makes his major league debut, it’ll be worth the wait. Here’s to a speedy recovery.