Pittsburgh Pirates fans assumed the worst and after a wait of nearly three weeks those fears were confirmed as Nick Kingham underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday in New York.
The procedure performed Wednesday by Dr. David Altcheck and expected recovery time is 12-18 months.
Kingham’s wait came after he was placed on the disabled list by the Indianapolis Indians. Kingham was seeking a second opinion for his injury and after a long wait received the news of a torn UCL.
Kingham, the team’s fourth round draft pick in 2010, is the second Pirate since Spring Training who underwent the surgery as Brandon Cumpton also had the same injury. Cumpton tweeted in late April that he had been in a brace for six weeks and had 50 more to go.
The injury confirms that Kingham will not contribute to the Pirates during the 2015 season and thus further limits their depth that could contribute at the major league level.
Tommy John surgery has become commonplace with Pirates pitching as both Jameson Taillon and Clay Holmes each had the surgery last season. Taillon is in extended spring training and threw two innings Saturday. Holmes is just starting to pitch again today throwing an inning according to Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects.
Kingham was one of the Pirates top prospects and this injury obviously will halt his progress. The Pirates front office was excited with the progress he made in Spring Training and cited him as one of the top depth options.
Based on recovery times, Kingham’s contribution at the major league level at the very earliest could come at the end of the 2016 season however 2017 is much more realistic.
Kingham was 1-2 this season with Triple-A Indianapolis with a 4.31 ERA.
Photo courtesy: Paul Vidella/Bradenton Herald