NEW YORK - Reliever Zach Pop, one of the Orioles’ highly rated pitching prospects who came to the organization last summer in the Manny Machado trade, will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Tuesday morning, according to multiple industry sources.
Pop had appeared in eight games with Double-A Bowie and allowed only one run and seven hits in 10 2/3 innings. He walked four batters and struck out 11.
Eastern League opponents were batting .184 against Pop, 22, the former Dodgers farmhand who joined the Orioles organization on July 18 with outfielder Yusniel Diaz, pitcher Dean Kremer and infielders Breyvic Valera and Rylan Bannon.
The Baysox placed Pop on the seven-day injured list on May 1 after he struck out the only Richmond batter he faced the previous night to record the “hold.” He threw four pitches.
The decision to undergo surgery was made today after renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews examined Pop in Pensacola, Fla.
The Orioles are keeping Andrews busy again. He also has examined reliever Nate Karns, who’s on the injured list with right forearm discomfort. Karns has been shut down after receiving an injection.
Concerns were raised in spring training after Pop’s fastball velocity dropped into the upper-80s instead of the 90s during a Feb. 23 game. He retired the side in order and explained later that he was taking it easy in his first appearance.
However, the Orioles decided to shut down Pop and slow-play him back into competition. Manager Brandon Hyde referred to the issue as “fatigue.”
“I wasn’t rearing back and it was probably a little bit of soreness that carried over from live BP and stuff,” Pop said at the time. “Being cautious with that going into the game and that was probably it. We took a look at it, and it was nothing serious and decided to just rest it and do it safely.”
The Orioles included Pop among their first round of camp roster cuts on March 3 while he was restricted to flat-ground throwing with Kremer, who reported with an oblique injury. Pop was included on Bowie’s break camp roster.
Diaz was placed on the injured list April 26 with a strained hamstring.
Pop made 14 appearances with the Orioles after the Machado trade and registered a 2.53 ERA and 0.938 WHIP in 21 1/3 innings with Bowie. He had a combined 1.53 ERA and 0.897 WHIP in 64 2/3 innings spread over three levels of the minors.
The Dodgers selected Pop, an Ontario native, in the seventh round of the 2017 draft out of the University of Kentucky. He’s viewed as having closer potential with his plus fastball and sinker/slider mix.
Baseball America rated Pop as No. 24 prospect in the Orioles organization. MLBPipeline.com has Pop at No. 19.
Update: Tonight’s game has been postponed due to unplayable field conditions and will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader Wednesday beginning at 3:05 p.m.
Andrew Cashner will be the Orioles’ starter for Tuesday’s scheduled 6:35 p.m. game., with Wednesday listed as TBD.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone mistakenly said David Hess would start Tuesday.
The grounds crew kept trying to dry left field with leaf blowers, rakes and a pitch fork, moving water from one area to another. Umpires conferred multiple times with both managers. The decision finally was made to call it after the initial announcement of an approximate 7:45 p.m. start time.