Reds righthander Hunter Greene, the second pick in the 2017 draft, will miss the 2019 season as he is set to have elbow ligament reconstruction surgery, the club announced on Monday.
Greene, the club’s No. 2 prospect, injured his elbow last summer and was shut down with a sprained UCL (which indicates a partial tear).
At the time, he and the club decided to try to see if rest and rehabilitation would be enough. He returned to the mound this spring, but last week while warming up for a live batting practice he felt some pain. Doctors then found new damage to Greene’s UCL ligament in his elbow and a pair of doctors recommended that he have Tommy John surgery.
The surgery is scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
“Obviously there is some lost time there, but we had some really good doctors look at him and that was their conclusion,” said Reds president Dick Williams.
“He was cleared to throw in the fall. He went through a program all winter without setback. Everybody was on board with what we did and wished it had worked. Now that it hasn’t, it was clear from the scans that surgery would be required to get it repaired.”
A typical Tommy John surgery takes 15 months for recovery, which means that Greene will likely miss most of the 2020 season in addition to all of the 2019 season.
Greene was a two-way star in high school playing both shortstop and pitching for Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was long known as one of the hardest-throwing high school pitchers in recent memory, with a fastball that touched 100 mph while he was in high school.
He struggled early on with the Reds, especially last April at low Class A Dayton, but he settled down and showed flashes of dominance as the season wore on. His velocity continued to tick up. At last summer’s Futures Game Greene touched 103 mph and sat between 100-102 mph.