North Carolina first baseman Dustin Ackley, who left the Cape Cod League after batting .415/.586/.707 in 12 games for Harwich, had Tommy John surgery on his right (throwing) elbow, UNC has confirmed. Ackley, one of the top prospects for the 2009 draft, is expected to recover in time for the start of the season.
The surgery should remedy throwing woes that have plagued Ackley since he arrived at North Carolina. Last fall, he played the outfield during scrimmages and threw the ball back to the infield underhanded. His sore elbow limited him to first base this spring, and he tried to conserve his elbow strength whenever possible, even throwing very slow warmup tosses to other infielders in between innings. Ackley profiles as an outfielder in pro ball, so he’ll need to be able to throw effectively. This summer was the right time to get this surgery over with, and North Carolina must hope he makes a speedy recovery, because he is the anchor of the Tar Heels’ offense.
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