Orioles right-hander Félix Bautista underwent Tommy John surgery in October but required further medical attention today. The righty “had right elbow debridement and an ulnar nerve transposition today with Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas,” per an announcement from the Orioles. “We do not anticipate any changes in his overall Tommy John recovery timeline and we still expect him to return for the 2025 season.”
The club provided some more info to reporters, including Jake Rill of MLB.com, who relayed that the procedures were necessary to clean up some scar tissue and that moving the nerve freed it from compression. It appears that his ulnar collateral ligament, which is replaced in Tommy John surgery, is still healing well.
Bautista was already slated to miss the entire 2024 season, as the rehab process from TJS generally takes longer than a year. Assuming the club’s assessment of the current situation is correct, then this will have no impact on his previous status, though some will naturally worry to hear about more work being done in the throwing elbow of someone as talented as Bautista.
Through his first two seasons, he has made 121 appearances with a tiny 1.85 earned runs allowed per nine innings. His 10% walk rate is a tad high but he’s paired that with a massive 40.4% strikeout rate, racking up 48 saves in the process.
Around the time of his first surgery, he and the club agreed to a two-year deal to cover both the 2024 and 2025 seasons, paying him $1MM in each. He would have been eligible for salary arbitration for the first time between those two seasons but missing the entire 2024 campaign would have prevented him from earning a raise commensurate with his talents. He will be eligible for arbitration for the 2026 and 2027 seasons before he would be slated for free agency.