Brewers pitching prospect Johnny Hellweg, one of the pieces acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in the deal that sent Zack Greinke packing from Milwaukee in 2012, has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, an injury that typically requires season-ending Tommy John surgery.
According to Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel, the diagnosis comes after the 25-year-old, currently ranked the No. 7 prospect in the Brewers' farm system by MLB.com, felt a pop in his elbow and had an exam from the team's head physician. He requested a second opinion, however, and will undergo an exam from specialist Dr. James Andrews next week.
Assistant General Manager Gordon Ash said "in all likelihood," Hellweg will undergo Tommy John surgery but was hesitant to say definitively whether the injury will require the season-ending procedure, according to the report:
"He has a diagnostic UCL injury. We have to determine if it's a surgical situation or if there's any opportunity to rehab it first."
The Brewers acquired Hellweg with shortstop Jean Segura and right-hander Ariel Pena from the Angels in July 2012 as part of the Greinke trade. In his MLB debut last season with the Brewers, Hellweg went 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in eight games, seven of them starts. He has since gone 1-2 with a 4.95 ERA in four starts with Nashville, allowing 21 hits and 15 walks in 20 innings.
If he goes the route of Tommy John surgery, he would more than likely miss the entire 2014 season and part of next season.