Although the start of the Major League baseball season is still a few weeks away, an El Pasoan received some bad news last week. Newly acquired Oakland A’s relief pitcher Fernando Rodriguez tore his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his pitching elbow, and now he will face Tommy John surgery. The news is tough for the former Franklin High School standout, who was just starting to get to know his Bay area teammates. Rodriguez had been traded last month from the Houston Astros to the A’s and had pitched in just four games this spring. He knew something was wrong after seven pitches last Monday against the Padres.

After associate team orthopedist Dr. Will Workman diagnosed him with a torn UCL, Rodriguez called his old Astros pitching coach Doug Brocail to discuss his options for surgery. Brocail recommended Houston surgeon Thomas Mehlhoff, who performed his second Tommy John surgery. The procedure is scheduled for March 27th in Houston and then Rodriguez will then travel to Oakland to begin his rehabilitation in the A’s training facility. If he is able to recover in the normal 12-month time period, the right-handed pitcher will be able to start throwing off a mound again by Spring Training 2014. Rodriguez is a class act and the kind of guy you root for. I hope he is back in the big leagues soon.