Our worst fears on the severity of Luke Hochevar‘s injury have been confirmed.
Two days after it was reported that Hochevar had strained his UCL and would be out until at least late May comes the news that we had feared, that he will need Tommy John surgery and will be out for the entirety of 2014.
Luke Hochevar will have Tommy John surgery, Yost says.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) March 7, 2014
This has become a disaster for both Hochevar and the Royals. For Hochevar, the timing of his injury could not be worse. Set to enter free agency at the end of this season, he was entering Spring Training with a chance to be the Royals fifth starter. Even if he remained in the bullpen, he still needed to prove that his excellent 2013 season was not just a mirage, and that he had developed into a solid option as a reliever. Now, he enters free agency as damaged goods, where there is no guarantee as to what type of pitcher he will be once he returns.
For the Royals, this just caps off what a disaster Luke Hochevar’s tenure with the Royals has been. As the first overall pick in the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft, Hochevar never lived up to his promise. Even worse, Royals fans desperate to see a competent pitcher in the rotation got to see players such as Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer and Tim Lincecum perform at a high level while Hochevar struggled. Now, on a team that claims to have payroll limitations, Hochevar is making the sixth most money on the team with a $5.21 Million contract for 2014. Even if Hochevar had not been injured, that was a lot of money to spend on someone who may not be in the rotation for the entirety of the 2014 season and would be, at best, the Royals setup man.
Now, Hocevar has likely thrown his last pitch for the Royals. Unless he comes back in 2015 at a reduced rate, Hochevar will end his tenure in Kansas City with a 43-61 record and a 5.10 ERA. Those are hardly the numbers anyone hoped for when he was drafted in 2006, and was being compared favorably to Kevin Brown.
Luke Hochevar is now going to miss the entire 2014 season. With the Royals recent history of pitchers needing to undergo Tommy John surgery, and the way Hochevar’s time in Kansas City has gone, this was hardly a surprise. It is certainly a disappointment, but it was seemingly inevitable.