Braves’ Vizcaino out for season after elbow surgery

LAKELAND, Fla. – Worst fears were realized when Braves reliever Arodys Vizcaino’s visit to Dr. James Andrews ended with the right-hander undergoing “Tommy John” elbow surgery Tuesday that will sidelined him for the entire 2012 season.

Vizcaino, rated the No. 40 prospect in baseball and top relief pitching prospect for 2012 by Baseball America, faces a 12-month rehabilitation.

The 21-year-old Dominican reinjured the ulnar collateral ligament that he partially tore as a minor leaguer in 2010, an injury that was allowed to heal without surgery at that time.

He hadn’t had any recurrence until this spring, when he was shut down after pitching in the March 3 Grapefruit League opener.

“He had the episode in 2010 that derailed his year, and now he was having trouble at the beginning of spring training,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “Hopefully this will get it taken care of and he’s a young guy who will have a long career.”

After examining Vizcaino on Monday night, Andrews recommended ligament-transplant surgery, which was done Tuesday at the famed surgeon’s clinic in Pensacola, Fla.

When the non-surgery option was recommended to the Braves and Vizcaino in 2010, they chose it in hopes he could avoid Tommy John surgery and the long recovery. He returned three months later and threw 97-98 mph fastballs in the Instructional League after the 2010 season, Wren said.

“There are guys that have ligaments that don’t look good on MRI and they play their whole career,” Wren said. “Greg Maddux’s ligament, from what I’ve been told, was one of the worst looking ligaments they’ve ever seen. But he continued to pitch and it never really became a problem. And that was when he first signed with the Braves.”

“It’s one of those things where as long a player is functional and not having any major difficulties, you don’t want to go in and do [surgery] until it gets to that point. And that’s where we are.”

Vizcaino stayed healthy in 2011, when he was moved from Double-A Mississippi rotation to the bullpen at midseason. He was brought to the majors in August after a brief stint at Triple-A Gwinnett.

He had 17 strikeouts in 17-1/3 innings in the majors and gave Atlanta’s bullpen a boost before fading down the stretch. After posting a 1.69 ERA and .086 opponents’ average in August in his first nine major league appearances, Vizcaino had a 9.45 ERA and .406 OA in eight September games.

Wren said he came into spring training this year “on the bubble” and could have begun the season in the bullpen either with Atlanta or Gwinnett.

Vizcaino is one of the organization’s coveted trio of Latin pitching prospects, with starters Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado. Scouts think Vizcaino could be a long-term standout in either role.

As a starter in 2010, he was 9-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 17 starts in Class A, with 79 strikeouts and 12 walks in 85-1/3 innings. The Braves moved him to the bullpen last summer to control his innings as he approached his career-high workload.

68 comments Add your comment

Jason in Houston

March 20th, 2012
1:25 pm

Rob

March 20th, 2012
1:26 pm

Glad we have young arms

DE Braves Fan

March 20th, 2012
1:27 pm

Thats a shame. Pulling for Aroyds to bounce back but now it seems like he is a Bullpen guy for the next few years.

Stinger2

March 20th, 2012
1:31 pm

Great contribution Jason.
Sorry to hear the bad news about Vizcaino. Wishing the best in his rehab and a full recovery.

BRAVESFAN

March 20th, 2012
1:33 pm

All this time I thought Liberty Media didn’t want to spend the money. Good luck on successful surgery Arodys!

JAFO

March 20th, 2012
1:37 pm

The espn crew reporting disconnect between fo and bench on who comes north for SS.

JAFO

March 20th, 2012
1:38 pm

2 run homer for raburn. 3-0. That’s probably all jv needs.

alex

March 20th, 2012
1:39 pm

how is it with all the Braves team physicians with shoulder/elbow experts, he ends up with andrews for a surgical procedure that has been around for decades, I just wonder, Hmmm. Is Andrews that much better that waiting for 3 weeks is appropriate( you think he may have had an MRI 3 weeks ago). What is the implication here, does it matter or is there an inside story on Team physicians in the mlb mad nfl….

I Gave Her Undertaker eyes

March 20th, 2012
1:40 pm

should have traded jurrjens when his value was up

Felix

March 20th, 2012
1:47 pm

Dave – Man, you are full of bad news this spring. I have started calling your posts “Dave’s Daily Injury Report”; but thanks for keeping us up to date. Hopefully this will fix the kid’s arm and he will be a powerhouse for us in the future.

lanier

March 20th, 2012
1:48 pm

they tried to trade him but couldnt get anything in return. he was on the block before his injury

Felix

March 20th, 2012
1:50 pm

Verlander on the mound and Detroit has the lead; not good.

JAFO

March 20th, 2012
1:55 pm

2 run single by hinske.

mpimentel

March 20th, 2012
1:59 pm

ia way much better trade jjj for even a bat boy to have him in opening day roster…besides of been a boras’s child

durtydogg

March 20th, 2012
2:09 pm

The writing was on the wall. When you see key words such as elbow, strain, MRI, Dr. Andrews, you can pretty much call it a wrap. This season has T-R-O-U-B-L-E written all over it.

Scottbravesfan

March 20th, 2012
2:28 pm

Hopefully he can go back to the minors and build his arm strength back up and become a starter again. He is still young enough to build up innings unlike Medlin who is too old to go back down and build up a proper innings work load.

T

March 20th, 2012
2:32 pm

Wow the braves suck. No different than the end of last year. Bet they will be 10 back by the end of April. That’s what happens when you leave everything the same and have a bunch of overpaid lazy asses.

Lemke’s Knuckler

March 20th, 2012
2:37 pm

durtydogg…”This season has T-R-O-U-B-L-E written all over it”

Yeah, losing a guy that was on the “bubble” to be our 5th or 6th guy out of the pen is a real season breaker.

Bigwheel

March 20th, 2012
2:53 pm

Wow Fredi. Jurrjens has slipped several times the last inning and you STILL leave him in on that shotty mound. You’ve lost what little faith i had in you to lead this team. I hope Wren fires your sorry ace by opening day.

John A.

March 20th, 2012
2:58 pm

In watching the game on TV, I understand how Jurggens gets hurt. He has a thick head….on the mound today his foot was landing in the hole created by the opposing pitcher (Verlander) causing him to fall

John A.

March 20th, 2012
2:58 pm

In watching the game on TV, I understand how Jurggens gets hurt. He has a thick head….on the mound today his foot was landing in the hole created by the opposing pitcher (Verlander) causing him to fall

Troy Wilson

March 20th, 2012
3:12 pm

JJ doesn’t have a thick head. He has a weird toe bone. He now has orthopedics and it should work. Still, a lot should happen.

Jay Dubu

March 20th, 2012
3:13 pm

@Rob,

The Braves are slowly running out of arms…Hudson, JJ, and Hanson are but a tweek away from the DL and Vizcaino & Moylan are down. Minor might end up being the #1 starter before this thing even gets started.

Jay Dubu

March 20th, 2012
3:21 pm

The Tigers have beaten the Braves like a drum all Spring Training long. I sure hope the Braves don’t have to play them during the season.

Joey

March 20th, 2012
3:21 pm

Can we get Lowe back to start the opening game? He may just be better than JJ right now . . .

Ralph

March 20th, 2012
3:24 pm

Minor should be the No 1 starter, however knowing Fruti’s history JJ will be the ACE reguardless of how bad he pitches in ST, he is the guy with the thick head. Also Medlen should be No 2.

Tony

March 20th, 2012
3:33 pm

@T, hey dude I’ll take some of that action. No way, no how the Braves are 10 games back by the end of next month.

[...] Braves‘ fears, about the health of promising rookie Arodys Vizcaino, were realized with the breaking news that he needs to have Tommy John surgery on Tuesday. He will miss the entire 2012 season. The [...]

urban redneck

March 20th, 2012
3:44 pm

the only person that has said anything constructive so far is the dude that said we should try to get back d-lowe…………

we should have traded him over the off season. i am pretty sure he is the weakest link of the big 4.

JAFO

March 20th, 2012
3:45 pm

This is a tired act. Anyone that doesn’t recognize it is either blind to the obvious or simply chooses to ignore. And yes, 3runs was all he needed.

Todd

March 20th, 2012
4:00 pm

This is perfectly OK with Liberty Media. A winning team does not matter to them. What matters is the ability to put enough people in seats to offset the expenses. If they spend 80 million dollars on players and generate 84 million in revenue – good enough – 4 million to the bottom line. Most importantly – they have figured out that gambling on higher player salaries in the hopes of winning and increasing attendance is a bad bet. The sweet spot is around 80 million in payroll and they may make 5% profit – win or lose. So guess what – the team you see is what you are going to have to live with – there is no money for quality players to fill the holes. My advice – become Tiger fans.

TOMY FOURNIER

March 20th, 2012
4:02 pm

SORRY ATLANTA’S FAN..MORE OF THE SAME…AND THAT WILL BE ALL SERIES…”GAME OVER”..YES!!!

smell of fresh cut grass is in the air

March 20th, 2012
4:29 pm

DOB, saw your Terdo comments…..that’s good news…..So is it official? Will he be on big league roster at beginning of season? By the way, what is his full name again?

smell of fresh cut grass is in the air

March 20th, 2012
4:36 pm

DOB, I meant if Braves feel Chipper will retire at the end of this year, will Terdo be on Atlanta roster at all this season, Sept. call-up maybe?
I thought at first you made it sound as if he won a roster spot, but I am guessing he’ll need some consistent play at 3rd base down in AA or AAA….right?

Tip O' the Cap

March 20th, 2012
4:37 pm

PMC

March 20th, 2012
4:37 pm

Did we have the same injury problems with arms in the 1990’s?

Seems like a lot of guys especially pitchers on this team get hurt early and often.

Wonder if the pitching programs have anything to do with it.

PMC

March 20th, 2012
4:38 pm

Imagine what would happen if we lost a starting outfielder.

There’s no one else.

jch

March 20th, 2012
4:42 pm

Just watched my first Braves game of the year….

….not sure I can sit through another 6 months of offensive futility.

Mr. Wren, you’re loaded with young arms and a couple of good catching prospects (I read a few teams are seeking catching depth). If you want this team to be competitive at all, use them and go get some offense.

phil

March 20th, 2012
4:43 pm

Losing Eroded Vizcaino for the year is hardly a surprise or a big deal. He’s done little for us, and he would’ve done little this year too because of his “youth”.

Maybe he’ll come back strong and be of some use. Time will tell.

phil

March 20th, 2012
4:44 pm

Offensive futility? No way!

It’s just ST and these games are as meaningless as threats of incarceration are for Lindsay Lohan.

Pay no attention to our efforts to lull the opposition into a sense of false security…

phil

March 20th, 2012
4:46 pm

JJ is and has been a lost cause.

It’s too late now. We’re stuck with him.

BOB

March 20th, 2012
4:48 pm

I have it on good authority that the new Three Stooges movie does not star Frank Wren, Rick Sund and Thomas Dimitrof.

bravesgrl4life

March 20th, 2012
4:51 pm

Jch – they have been playing better the last few games. Today was just not one of those.

cowdogit

March 20th, 2012
4:52 pm

Leo Mazzone was a tough disciplinarian, for fourteen years his tough work out rules prevented major arm problems on the braves pitching staff. How many years before the idiots in charge realize how to fix this problem. I predict Craig Kimbrel’s arm will break down sometime in july.

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ

March 20th, 2012
4:53 pm

ate lunch today at Satterfields BBQ in downtown Macon. Great slaw.

Powder Blue

March 20th, 2012
4:58 pm

We need hitters.

jch

March 20th, 2012
5:01 pm

bravesgirl – we’ll see… It’s not that they can’t hit individually, it just seems they only hit with empty bases; just like last year.

They need help and I don’t see it coming from the current line-up

Tommy

March 20th, 2012
5:11 pm

Young pitchers blow out elbows all of the time, and spring games don’t count, but man, it’s tough to ignore the omens so far . . .

The team’s problem once again is going to be strikeouts. Our starting pitchers get too few, and our starting lineup gets too many

BraveMan

March 20th, 2012
5:34 pm

Too bad for a fine young prospect. I hope he makes a complete recovery.

alanfalcon

March 20th, 2012
5:35 pm

Has there been a Frank Wren sighting, does he know what is going on with the position players ( runs scored), has he taken a look at the pitching to know whether or not we will have enough quality arms for the starting rotation.

Frank where are you and what are you up to, sure hope the Braves are as good as you think they are and that we don’t need any help.

Disgusted

March 20th, 2012
6:16 pm

I hate that for such a young pitcher but he is young and he still has a career left if he rehabs the right way.

By mid decade, he should be a heck of a pitcher either as a starter or mid reliever. The stuff is there.

I do expect these kids to struggle in 2012, the nucleus of the staff is a healthy Hudson, Hanson and JJ.

I like what I see in Minor but lets see what he does over one full MLB season.

Maybe he is the real thing right now, but we do not know yet. I am a conservative guy when it comes to expecting big things from first full season guys.

Disgusted

March 20th, 2012
6:23 pm

If the Braves could have gotten a good hitter for JJ they might have done the deal.

I suspect the reason why JJ has not landed a big bat is that other GM;s tried to low ball Wren with crappy offers.

Moving him for a platoon guy or a couple of B prospects does nothing, they are better off keeping his 13 W’s a year and 3.5 ERA until its time to walk instead of getting a low ball offer.

JJ is better than the sabernumbers give him credit for, but because he does not score high in those 21st century fangled stats, my suspicion is that other GM;s will offer next to nothing.

Someday there will be more of a balance between results and the geek numbers. For now, BAIP and FIP are the fad of the day for now.

Give me W’s, IP’s and real ERA. That is where real results are in.

buster brave

March 20th, 2012
7:20 pm

all is well,it’s only spring training. sorry for Vizcaiano’s injury,but will have a new improved elbow next year,just as Hudson,and Medlin do.Injuries are a part of baseball,just as for armchair general managers,coaches,managers.you know: trippin’ on the way to gettin’ next beer,burn hand or lip smokin’ 2 packs of cigs aday, sunburn and asthma attack brought on by ridin’ lawnmower. get a grip guys and gals,the dealin’ is over,we have a well stacked team,it’s a long season boys,mend up,buck up and enjoy !!!!

leastof the east

March 20th, 2012
8:45 pm

it was only a matter of time that Vizcaino had TJ surgery. when i predicted this a few weeks ago, I’m sure many out there snickered at me.
as far as JJ goes, we don’t know what was offerred for him. however, Reds did overpay for Latos so whatever they offerred for JJ was likely enough. hindsight is 20/20 though. Frank gambled and lost as now he’ll end up with 0 for JJ.
hardly a surprise either.

[...] Gupta in Uncategorized The Atlanta Braves were dealt a blow when they learned Arodys Vizcaino would miss the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery. He’s regarded as one of the Braves top three pitching prospects, [...]

Tree rollins

March 20th, 2012
11:57 pm

This is almost like no loss at all with the strong bullpen we’ve got. Now if you lose one of your big guns like Tim Hudson or Derek Lowe then you’ve really got something to sweat about! See ya next year big guy.

[...] Vizcainos Out for Season After Elbow Surgery Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Arodys Vizcainos underwent ligament transfer surgery (aka Tommy John surgery) performed by famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James [...]

Mike Jay

March 21st, 2012
5:24 am

You don;t trade JJ when there are questions about his arm. The retrun value is not there. You wait, let him pitch a few games to prove he was fine then trade him to someone desperate during the year when his value is much higher.

coondog

March 21st, 2012
7:24 am

Hmmm, yes Doctor Andrews is the best there is!!!

Don

March 21st, 2012
9:11 am

Great news — Baseball America just named Vizcaino the best relief pitching prospect in all of baseball.
WOOPS – He is having Tommy John surgery and is out for the entire season.
Why did they publish this – It does not qualify as NEWS when a Braves Pitcher is injured.
AND THE BRAVES PITCHER “INJURY MILL” GRINDS ON AND ON and ON and ON ——-.
I keep asking this question and none of the Braves’ writers will answer it.
Since Leo left as the Pitching Coach 6 or 7 years ago, of all the large number of different Starting Pitchers that the Braves have used in those 6 or 7 years (counting those who have been in the rotation for a reasonable length of time) HOW MANY OF THAT LARGE NUMBER OF PITCHERS HAVE NOT ENDED UP BEING INJURED????? Any of them?????
This is ABSURD for this to be allowed to go on and on.
Right now, 4 of our 5 Starters (counting Medlen as a Starter – he was a Starter when he was injured)
are coming off INJURIES.
Many Pitchers (probably most Pitchers) do not return to their former greatness after serious injury.
The Braves will be fortunate if 2 out of those 4 return to their former effectiveness. Supose none of them do.
True, the Braves have a wealth of additional young pitching talent — But what good will this do if this trend continues of EVERY (or almost every) STARTING PITCHER BEING INJURED.
This is ABSURD.

Don

March 21st, 2012
9:15 am

With JJ coming off of and trying to recover from a serious knee injury:
Was it one of the most STUPID things that you have ever seen in baseball to allow him to stay in the game in his last inning of work when he kept slipping and falling on the mound????
Absolutely unbelievable

Lee in S GA

March 21st, 2012
10:56 am

Don, did Roger McDowell spit on you too at the game Kramer and Newman was at years ago?

Bravesfan54

March 21st, 2012
11:24 am

Derek Lowe gone=plus 1. Pastornicky for Alex Gonzalez=minus one. Vizcaino injury=minus one. Huddy’s offseason surgery=minus one-half. Acquistion of Jack Wilson=plus one. Spring Training results=don’t score. Overall perspective of Braves’ chances = marginally on the downside.

Harvey's

March 21st, 2012
11:42 am

Try Chippeer at pitcher!!

Mark (another one)

March 21st, 2012
12:47 pm

I keep seeing the requests for Leo to return. Please, give it a break. I liked Leo as a personality and coach, but the man left the Braves for a three year contract, and has been out of baseball since 2007.

I believe Leo would tell you the Braves had lots of talent when he was here. His coaching undoubtedly helped the team win but so did having Smoltz, Glavine, Avery, et al. When he got to Baltimore he had the opposite situation. Little talent. The results got him fired.

Coaches are important but they need good players. Results are on the field for everyone to see. Let’s hope that when the games count, Fredi and Roger are genuises

Joshua

March 21st, 2012
1:10 pm

Martin Prado is the most overrated player on the roster. Pitchers have figured out he takes the first pitch nearly every time, and the result is he is effectively reduced to 2-strike at bats – rendering him virtually useless, especially with runners on base.

The entire line-up, as usual, needs to stop trying to “be patient” and start swinging at strikes. Taking early strikes allows opposing pitchers to deliver harder to hit pitches in critical spots, and Braves hitters are forced to expand the strike zone and swing at them. This plays right into the pitchers’ hands, and is the main reason we’ve experienced such offensive futility the past couple of seasons.

Joshua

March 21st, 2012
1:12 pm

Our hitters need the mentality when they come to the plate “I’m going to knock the hell out of the first good pitch I see”, not “I’m going to run up the pitch count and try to walk”.

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