Swagerty to have season-ending surgery

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Right-hander Jordan Swagerty, ranked by MLB.com as the seventh-best prospect in the Cardinals’ system, is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery early next week. He will undergo a pair of procedures, one to remove bone spurs in his right elbow and the other to repair a compromised ligament. The latter is most commonly referred to as Tommy John surgery.

Swagerty’s elbow first began to bother him in February, when he was throwing early bullpen sessions in Major League camp. He stopped throwing for precautionary reasons, and the organization’s hope was that rest and some rehabilitation would be enough for Swagerty to return to the mound fairly quickly.

But discomfort continued, prompting Swagerty to seek a second opinion from noted orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum earlier this week. It was then that everyone involved determined surgery would be the best course of action.

“It’s disappointing,” farm director John Vuch said. “But in the long run it’s probably better to do everything now than to break [the two procedures] up and risk losing the better part of two seasons.”

That risk would have been tied to Swagerty’s elbow ligament, which technically isn’t torn yet. However, the bone spurs giving Swagerty issues in his elbow are actually also currently supporting and protecting the ligament. Removing them, which was going to be necessary, would have further compromised the ligament.

It would then have not been a question of if Swagerty would need Tommy John surgery, but when.

Swagerty would have been sidelined until at least August with the bone spur procedure alone. Adding the ligament replacement procedure halts any chance of a late-season return.

A normal recovery period puts Swagerty in line to be able to return to competition near the start of next season. The 22-year-old right-hander was expected to begin this season in the Double-A rotation after having pitched a three Minor League levels last year. Swagerty, who was a second-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, had a combined 5-3 record and 1.83 ERA in 36 games (12 starts).

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