Locked into a heat battle with the division-leading Oakland Athletics, the last thing the Los Angeles Angels wanted to hear was that they were about to lost a major component of their bullpen. The news got much worse when they learned that a UCL tear would mean that Sean Burnett is done for all of this season and likely most of 2015 as well.
Victor Rojas confirmed via Twitter on Wednesday that Burnett received the worst news possible on his ailing elbow when he was told a UCL tear would cost him the rest of this season and likely mean that he was going to undergo Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career.
Sean Burnett will meet with Dr. James Andrews early next week to determine the next course of action according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.
The 31-year-old Burnett has appeared in just 16 games with the Angels since signing a 2-year, $8 million deal with Los Angeles prior to the 2013 season. An elbow impingement cost Burnett all but 13 games a season ago, when he posted a 0.93 ERA. After having a spring training setback, Burnett did not make his season debut until May 23rd and threw only 19 pitches in 3 appearances before being removed from the game on Tuesday.
Burnett is no stranger to Tommy John, having had it in 2004 just after making his major league debut. After washing out as a starter, Burnett made a successful transition to the bullpen in 2008 and has been one of the best lefty relievers in the game since. In 318 appearances out of the bullpen, Burnett holds a 10-18 record with a 3.17 ERA and a 7.3 K/9 ratio.
The Angels hold a $3.5 million option on Burnett for the 2015 season. However, they are unlikely to exercise it at this stage, but could perhaps pursue a minor league deal with Burnett during his recovery process.