Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Brandon Cumpton will miss the entire 2015 season after undergoing successful Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.
Cumpton, who was a depth piece for Pittsburgh heading into the regular season, experienced soreness in his elbow after throwing a session of live batting practice last week. That soreness prompted a closer look at the arm, which eventually led to the procedure, which takes at least one year to fully recover from.
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Last season with Pittsburgh, he made 16 appearances – including 10 starts – compiling a 4.89 ERA in the process. His versatility is well-noted by this point, given that he finished four games as well, just one year removed from a late-season call-up to the Steel City in which he excelled down the stretch.
In that historic campaign (at least in terms of the Pirates netting a postseason berth), Cumpton made five starts for Pittsburgh, pitching to a 2.05 earned run average in 30 2/3 innings of work. His best outing that year came on July 30 against the Cardinals, when he tossed seven scoreless innings, scattering three hits and striking out five.
Last year, he beat the Cubs in a start at Wrigley Field on June 22, tossing seven scoreless frames once again – which tied the career-high he set the year prior against St. Louis. These examples show how valuable he could be to a contending Pittsburgh Pirates’ team – and how big of a loss this could prove to be in 2015.
With Cumpton sidelined, the team has several other options according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
"Casey Sadler, Radhames Liz, Stolmy Pimentel, Clayton Richard and Nick Kingham are other starting depth options. The Pirates must put Locke or Worley in the bullpen because they are both out of minor league options and cannot be sent to the minors without clearing waivers."
Clearly, without Cumpton, plenty of depth still exists for the Pirates. These options listed above don’t even include potential call-ups throughout the season from the Pittsburgh farm system – which is loaded with impact talent.
For now, add Cumpton to the ever-growing list of arms that fell victim to the TJ procedure: with Yu Darvish and potentially Cliff Lee headlining that list this spring, the Pirates’ right-hander seems trivial – but with several years of team control remaining, a productive recovery over the next year will be key for the Pirates.