Georgia Tech battled injuries to its pitching staff last year, and now one of its key arms will miss all of the 2013 season, as well. Junior righthander Matt Grimes had Tommy John surgery after re-injuring his elbow in a scrimmage earlier this week.
Georgia Tech head coach Danny Hall said Grimes missed most of last year with elbow problems and rested all summer. Grimes was pitching again in intrasquad scrimmages this fall, throwing three outings. His last pitch before the surgery was 91 mph, according to Hall, but he said his elbow didn't feel right.
A trip to Dr. James Andrews revealed the bad news, as Andrews recommended surgery because the MRI on Grimes' elbow looked worse than the one on file from last spring.
"I think he's got tremendous talent and I think he would have made us a lot better and certainly would have made our pitching staff a lot deeper if he was healthy and capable of pitching the way he did as a freshman," Hall said. "I guess the only blessing is that it happened now, so it gives us the rest of the fall and the offseason to kind of line up our pitching and figure out who is the next guy to have the opportunity to be a starter for us. Last year, (the injury bug) happened in the first third of the season, and when it happens during the season, it's harder to overcome, sometimes."
Grimes had a solid freshman season, going 7-4, 4.15 with 77 strikeouts and 27 walks over 74 innings for the Yellow Jackets. But he battled some elbow tendinitis during his sophomore season and was limited to just five starts and 19 innings.
When healthy, Grimes has been up to 94 mph with a good slider and a changeup.
"He's got the potential not just to be an outstanding pitcher for us, but to be a high draft pick," Hall said. "He's a pro prospect if he's healthy."