PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher David Hernandez is on his way to Pensacola, Fla. for the never exciting visit with Dr. James Andrews, who will be issuing the right-hander a second opinion on the injury to his ulnar collateral ligament, which is likely to be treated with reconstructive Tommy John surgery. His season, and then some, is probably over.
“It is what it is now,” Hernandez told reporters Friday at Chase Field.
The injury was discovered Thursday following a routine, precautionary MRI. Prior to the test, Hernandez, 28, had been receiving treatment for discomfort in his right forearm.
“It was just something, I guess, every pitcher goes through — just soreness,” he said. “It was one of those things where I just let a week go by and (it wasn’t) getting better so I started getting treatment.”
According to Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, the treatment Hernandez was receiving from the team’s training staff was nothing more than regular arm maintenance that came in reaction to normal discomfort.
“You always try to go into a mode where you can get a resolution on your soreness,” he said Friday. “And just to put him at ease, we ordered the MRI and when the results came back we were in a different situation.”
Prior to the surprising diagnosis, Hernandez was en route to a comeback season following a disappointing 2013 campaign. He had a 2.16 ERA in 8.1 Cactus League innings pitched.
“We had him slotted in in the 8th inning,” Gibson said.
Last season, Hernandez struggled in the setup role and eventually wound up making a stint at Triple-A Reno. He headed for the minors with a 5.59 ERA, six losses and five blown saves.
By all outward appearances, he looked to be making a rebound this spring.
“It’s disappointing,” Gibson said. “He worked hard. This wasn’t in the plans.”
Now, Hernandez’s next comeback will be all the more challenging. He’ll join teammates Patrick Corbin, Daniel Hudson and Matt Reynolds in recovery, should he proceed with the reconstructive surgery following the visit with Andrews. That support and the camaraderie which will flow from it is the silver lining in it all, Hernandez says.
“I guess Corbin and I are going to be hanging out a lot this summer,” he half-joked Friday.
In signature form, Gibson, too, managed to find a positive to draw from the bad news.
“It’s a new challenge for us,” he said. “It’s something we have to deal with that we didn’t think we’d be dealing with a day ago.
“Yet, that’s what being a champion is all about. That’s part of it. That’s what you embrace.”