The biggest scare for any pitcher is facing a torn ulnar ligament (UCL). Jason Vargas suffered a torn UCL resulting in a season-ending Tommy John surgery in late July last year. The Kansas City Royals hope to have him back soon.
Tommy John surgery is the new face of baseball for any pitcher of any age. Not knowing the significance of what causes a torn UCL, doctors take cautious steps in rehabilitation. Rehab can take up to 14 months or longer depending on the individuals speed of healing and recovery time.
Jason Vargas got drafted in the second round in 2004 by the Florida Marlins. After a few rough years, Vargas got it together and currently has a 4.20 career ERA.
When the Kansas City Royals signed Vargas to a four-year $32 million deal in 2014, after the Los Angeles Angels did not re-sign him, baseballs insiders raised their collective eyebrows like they did when the Royals signed Ian Kennedy for five years $70 million.
Like Kennedy this year, Vargas had a huge impact when he came to the Kansas City Royals in 2014. He helped lead the team to a World Series. Vargas accumulated 3.52 ERA in three postseason games for Kansas City. He had a 5-2 record with a 3.98 ERA before the injury in 2015.
Vargas’ return is not expected to be as soon as the Royals need him but MLB beat writer for the Kansas City Royals, Jeffrey Flanagan, stated on Twitter he could be back this season if all goes well.
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Different injury, but when Mike Minor got sent to Double-A Northwest Arkansas for two starts, General Manager Dayton Moore said he might be ready early June. As we all know, that did not happen and the Royals still are not sure on when he will return to the big leagues.
Best-case scenario for Vargas and the Royals would be to aim for the end of September. Kansas City should not bank on his return this year. With the last game of the season being October 2nd, Vargas getting a start within that time would be based on his recovery and if the Kansas City Royals season would be coming to an end, meaning no playoffs.
Vargas’ contract with the Royals extends to the end of next season. With the lefties track record of injuries, the Kansas City Royals may be able to re-sign him to an inexpensive deal if the 33-year-old can pitch effectively after recovering from the injury.
Hopefully Vargas will recover fully. He should take as much time as necessary and possibly more to avoid any kind of setbacks. The Royals need him to start games for the team next season. A lot of questions will be needing answers after this season is complete. Let’s hope Vargas is one of the answers.