The Houston Astros bullpen has had its struggles in 2021 and now it is losing one of its better arms. Astros reliever Kent Emanuel announced on social media Thursday that he will be undergoing elbow surgery. He will miss the remainder of the 2021 season.
Emanuel explained his situation in detail on his Instagram. While the surgery will be on his UCL, he hopes Tommy John surgery will not be necessary. “I’m going into surgery hoping to get a UCL repair which is a little bit different than a reconstruction. So when you say Tommy John, that’s referring to reconstruction. We don’t think that’s gonna be the case, but we won’t know for sure until they get in…” This is from a Mark Berman tweet. As of right now, Emanuel doesn’t believe the dreaded T.J. surgery will be necessary, but it is still on the table if a “repair” isn’t possible. Regardless, the left-hander will not return in 2021. Emanuel already had Tommy John in 2015 while on the Astros AA team.
Emanuel’s Road to the Show
The road has been filled with bumps for Emanuel in his professional baseball career. Unfortunately, this is another rough patch. He was drafted in 2013 but injuries slowed his progress quite a bit. Before the 2020 season, he was suspended 80 games for a performance-enhancing drug. As soon as his suspension ended, he was finally called up to the Astros.
Emanuel, a 28-year-old rookie, made his long-awaited Major League debut earlier this season, in late April. He made quite an impact in his debut. He entered a game in relief after Jake Odorizzi left the game due to injury after just one out. Emanuel pitched the rest of the game, 8 2/3 innings, giving up just two runs. Including his debut, Emanuel has pitched in ten games this season. Through 17 2/3 innings, he has a 2.55 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, and 13 strikeouts. He was placed on the Injured List Friday, May 28.
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