Oakland Athletics’ starting pitcher A.J. Griffin was shut down last spring with “elbow tendinitis.” As such ailments tend to do with so many pitchers these days, the injury ended up resulting in him having a torn ulnar collateral ligament.
Griffin underwent Tommy John surgery on April 30th of last year and faced the typical 12-18 month recovery period that is required for all pitchers after the procedure.
He began throwing again in April of this year and started simulated games in early May. Griffin suffered a setback on May 9th, feeling soreness in his right shoulder.
He was about to be cleared to begin his rehab assignments at that time, but his recovery had to be put on hold as a precaution. Luckily for the A’s and for Griffin, shoulder soreness was not something he had experienced before.
It did not turn out to be anything serious, likely just fatigue, as he is still building up his arm strength. Friday MLB.com reporter Jane Lee released the news via Twitter that Griffin has been cleared to start his rehab assignments.
Griffin will start for @stocktonports on Tuesday. On tap for three innings/45 pitches.
— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) May 29, 2015
A date for his first start has already been set for Tuesday with the A’s Class-A affiliate Stockton Ports. Griffin is expected to work about three innings or approximately 45 pitches.
The fact that Griffin has been cleared to throw in actual games is great news for the Athletics.
Although no time table has been officially set for his return the A’s are hopeful that they could have Griffin back on the mound in Oakland by mid-June.
Prior to his elbow injury Griffin started 47 games for the Athletics between 2012 and 2013, posting a 3.60 ERA and 235/73 K/BB ratio in 282.1 innings.
The now 27-year-old right-hander was 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 2012 and 14-10 with a 3.83 ERA in 2013. As previously noted he had to spend the entire 2014 season in recovery, but now those recovery days are finally numbered.