Shoulder surgeries are now becoming more frightening for pitchers than elbow surgeries. With the advancements in Tommy John surgery, pitchers can return sooner than they ever could before. For Jeff Niemann and the Rays, any surgery is going to be a problem, but shoulder surgery appears likely.
The Rays and Niemann are waiting on a second opinion, but according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, surgery appears to be the probable course. If that happens, Niemann's season will be over. The Rays were hoping Niemann could be a factor in their rotation as the club fights for a shot at the American League East crown. Unfortunately, that doesn't look like it will happen.
"There's a lot of bad-case scenarios out there," Niemann said. "Hopefully there's that light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel kind of thing and just hope for the best. That's all we can do right now."
The 30-year old Niemann has been productive in his career, but he has also been injury-prone. In his five Major League seasons, Niemann has only pitched 30 or more games twice. Last season, he only appeared in eight games.
Niemann is 40-26 with a 4.08 ERA in his career. The Rays were hoping Niemann could build on the short-lived success he had last year. He posted a 3.08 ERA in the eight games in which he pitched.
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