Dedniel Nuñez and the San Francisco Giants got some tough, albeit expected news to end the week. The right-handed pitcher will have to undergo Tommy John surgery following a UCL sprain in his right elbow, and he’ll miss the entirety of the upcoming season.
Gabe Kapler said Dedniel Núñez will undergo Tommy John surgery.— Jacob Rudner (@Jacob_Rudner) March 19, 2021
"It's a significant loss," Kapler said.
Nuñez suffered the sprain at the start of the week, and the team sought a second opinion before opting for surgery. This outcome was not unexpected, as UCL sprains commonly lead to Tommy John surgery for pitchers.
It’s the same injury that fellow right-handed pitcher Tyler Beede suffered about this time last year. For recovery reference, Beede is hoping to make rehab appearances in May, and be ready to go sometime in June. So a return sometime in the summer of 2022 — assuming there is baseball in 2022 — is the most likely scenario for Nuñez.
The question is, will it be with the Giants? Nuñez was a Rule 5 selection by San Francisco, meaning he can only be off the active roster when on the Injured List or he must be returned to his prior team, the New York Mets. That means that when Nuñez is healthy next year, he’ll have to go straight to the active roster, and he’ll have to stay there the entire season. If he’s only healthy for fewer than 90 days — which is a distinct possibility given the timeline of his rehab — then he’ll have to repeat the process in 2023 (however, the days role over, so he’ll just have to get to 90 active roster days total, between the two seasons, and then he’s in the clear).
In other words, it’s gonna take a lot for Nuñez to remain on the team, though it’s clear the organization is high on him. But roster logistics always feel a little meaningless in times like these — a baseball player chasing his dream of making it to the Majors just suffered an enormous setback, and that’s really sad to see.
Head up, Dedniel, and hopefully we’ll see you soon.