In the midst of this week’s Windy City series between the Cubs and White Sox, the North Siders got a bit of bad news when the found out Tuesday night that reliever Kyuji Fujikawa would need season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Understandably, Fujikawa was upset about the situation. On Monday, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this year and offered a statement about the situation.
It’s the first big injury of my career. I’m trying to look forward and trying to come back strong. I was definitely disappointed. I gave it my all, and I don’t have any regrets. Being a pitcher, this injury is a possibility for anybody out there and it happened to me this time.
During Sunday night’s game against the Reds, the right-hander felt some discomfort on his first pitch to Reds batter Joey Votto in the ninth inning. It was the start of his second inning of work, as he had already faced six batters to that point.
The Japanese import had a rough start to the season, posting a 12.46 ERA in just five games before being put on the DL on April 13 due a strained right forearm. He returned on May 10 and had visibly improved, giving up just one run in 7 and 2/3 innings in seven games. It was good for a strong 1.17 ERA over that period of time.
Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer said he got the news on Tuesday evening, noting that an MRI revealed a ruptured CL in the right elbow.
We’re disappointed, obviously. Whenever we start talking about forearms, it concerns you. We were cautiously optimistic, because the physical exam was positive. The thing about him saying he felt a “pop” to be candid, we were hoping it might be something that was lost in translation. Obviously he was right.
Fujikawa noted that he has received a lot of support from the team, saying their message to him was “We want you to come back stronger.” There have been no details on when the surgery will take place or who will perform it.
The rehab can be a little shorter for a relief pitcher as opposed to a starter, but Hoyer said the Cubs will have a better idea about that once Fujikawa has the surgery and begins his comeback.
The 32-year old was signed during the offseason, and was expected to assume the team’s closer role after Carlos Marmol had a rocky start to the season and failed to meet expectations.
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