Toronto.BlueJays.MLB.com reports Toronto Blue Jays CL B.J. Ryan (elbow) underwent Tommy John surgery Thursday, May 10, to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is done for the season. Ryan is expected to be ready for the start of spring training next season.
What started out as a back injury in spring training for Ryan has now become something much more serious. The surgery was reportedly successful, and Ryan is now expected to begin the long road back. He will be shut down for the rest of the season, but according to Dr. Timothy Kremchek, who performed the surgery, he should be ready for spring training next year.
Ryan had been shut down during spring training with what was termed a back injury, but he came back to start the season. He appeared in only five games, saving three while blowing two saves. His ERA was a high 12.46 and he managed only three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. After the last blown save, Ryan was shut down with elbow soreness and was expected to be out until at least the middle of June. Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi recently revealed that the organization had been misleading with Ryan's injury in spring training. Ricciardi admitted that the elbow was the problem then.
After Ryan took a couple of weeks off from throwing, he returned to toss the
ball Tuesday, May 8, and the pain had not subsided, instead getting worse. This
prompted the team to send him in for the surgery.
In 2006, Ryan was dominant in his first season with the Blue Jays, saving 38 games in 42 opportunities while sporting a 1.37 ERA and striking out 86 batters.
While this is a blow to both the Blue Jays and your fantasy team, it is not something you cannot make it through. When Ryan was first shut down, relief pitcher Jason Frasor was penciled in as the closer, but he has struggled since that appointment. He has only two saves in four opportunities. He also has a 6.08 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings. With Frasor possibly failing to capitalize on his chance, the team could eventually turn to someone else.
Relief pitcher Shaun Marcum has one save in two opportunities this year while posting a 6.06 ERA. They could also go with relief pitcher Jeremy Accardo or relief pitcher Scott Downs. Both pitchers have not allowed a run all season in 25 combined innings. If Frasor loses the job and the Blue Jays go with another hurler, he would instantly become a viable fantasy option. Keep in mind, though, that the team has been struggling recently, and save opportunities have been few and far between.
As for Ryan, while it is uncertain how he will respond to the surgery, looking at a recent example could give Blue Jays fans hope. Tampa Bay Devil Rays closer Al Reyes has recently come back from one of the more severe elbow injuries; Thursday, May 3, he picked up his 10th save of the season. With Ryan much younger, and having less wear and tear on his elbow, he could be able to make a full return next year. Those in keeper leagues should be patient.
If you had Ryan prior to this, you likely already had a long-term replacement for him. Washington Nationals pitcher Jon Rauch could be a short-term replacement, as he is taking over for Nationals closer Chad Cordero (personal). Cordero is on the bereavement list (out three to seven games) and has also blown four saves this year. That is likely only a short-term option, however. One long-term option may be Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Rafael Soriano. Soriano has two saves and one hold in the last seven days (four games) while posting a 2.95 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP on the season. Soriano has been replacing closer Bob Wickman (back), who is out with a back injury.
Ryan has not made much of an impact this season (aside from potentially killing your team in the saves department), so if you have survived without him so far, you should be able to make due without him. Keep an eye on KFFL for updates on Ryan's rehab and the Blue Jays closing situation.
About Bryce McRae
Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.
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