Padres’ Cory Luebke To Miss 2014 Season Due To UCL Tear In Elbow
San Diego Padres left-hander Cory Luebke received some very disparaging news on Tuesday: he’ll miss the entire 2014 season after doctors discovered an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear in his left elbow.
This is particularly rough news for Luebke and the Padres because the 28-year-old already dealt with one Tommy John operation in May 2012. That one and its subsequent rehabilitation kept him out of action for all of the 2013 season, so to be faced with this again has to be frustrating for all sides.
As Corey Brock of MLB.com tells it, Luebke’s rehab was going well until something felt ‘off’, prompting doctors to take another look at his elbow, which apparently didn’t react to the original surgery as it should have. Padres general manager Josh Byrnes put Luebke’s situation into perspective:
“I feel bad for him … from 2011 through the first part of 2012, he was certainly on his way,” said Padres general manager Josh Byrnes. “This is a real setback. There’s been a lot of missed time. Hopefully in a year or so, he can get back to being Cory Luebke.
“This whole thing has been a mystery.”
In 2011, Luebke pitched in 46 games for San Diego (17 of them starts), amassing a 6-10 record and an ERA of 3.29. The following year, he began the season 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA in five starts before undergoing his initial Tommy John operation in May.
From San Diego’s perspective, the ongoing issues surrounding Luebke’s elbow come after the team rewarded his promising 2011 season with a three-year, $12 million contract extension in spring of 2012. They will continue paying Luebke through 2015, and there’s no doubt both sides remain hopeful that he’ll be able to contribute in some form before the contract expires.
Though his situation is especially unique, requiring back-to-back reconstructive elbow surgeries after only a handful of Major League experience, it will be interesting to see if this affects how teams handle young pitching talent moving forward. San Diego invested $12 million in his arm and has yet to really reap any benefits from the deal, perhaps suggesting that locking up quality young pitchers may not be as wise a decision as teams might otherwise think.
On the other hand, maybe Luebke’s situation is just an anomaly. Time will tell, but hopefully he manages to come back from this setback and be a consistent Major League pitcher.
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