Among the bad news Rick Hahn delivered Monday was an unfortunate update on Micker Adolfo.
One of the organization’s top-ranked outfield prospects, Adolfo is, like Michael Kopech and Dane Dunning, in recovery mode after having Tommy John surgery in 2018. But the outfielder needs arthroscopic surgery on his elbow, which will happen Tuesday and knock him out for the remainder of the 2019 season.
Hahn said the team expects that Adolfo will be back and without restrictions come spring training 2020.
“Micker Adolfo will be visiting with Dr. Andrews (on Tuesday), at which time he will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow,” Hahn said Monday. “We are expecting it to be a debridement or a removal of scar tissue, as well as potentially some work done on the nerve, a nerve transposition in the forearm.
“That will knock Micker out for the remainder of the 2019 season. However he will be able to resume baseball activities shortly after the season ends, and we project him to be able to join us in 2020 spring training as an outfielder without any restrictions whatsoever.”
It’s obviously an unfortunate result for Adolfo, who first suffered an arm injury early last year. The White Sox hoped to avoid surgery by limiting Adolfo to work as a designated hitter. But though Adolfo put up some good offensive numbers, surgery was necessary, and his 2018 season came to an end in early July.
Adolfo started this season with Double-A Birmingham, again as a DH, playing in 23 games. He went on the injured list at the end of last month and now won’t play in another game before this season is over.
Between a strong bat and an outfield arm that’s previously been ranked as the finest in the White Sox minor league system, Adolfo looked like a potential important piece of the rebuilding franchise’s future. Despite a crowded group of minor league outfielders, Adolfo seemed capable of standing out. He still could, of course, but this setback will rob him of even more developmental time in the minor leagues as the White Sox steam toward seasons in which plenty of fans expected them to have a contending roster.
After breaking out with a nice 2017 season at Class A Kannapolis, Adolfo will head into the 2020 season having played just 102 games over the previous two campaigns at Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham.
While it’s the same significant injury that Adolfo’s been dealing with for more than a year, it’s another long layoff for a piece of the White Sox future. Carlos Rodon joined Adolfo, Kopech, Dunning and Zack Burdi in the Tommy John club Monday, Luis Robert missed all but 50 games last season with thumb injuries, Jake Burger is still in recovery mode after suffering a pair of Achilles tears in 2018, and Alec Hansen missed a lot of time last year with a forearm injury.
It’s an ever-growing list of brutal blows for a rebuilding team that can’t seem to stop taking them. When Adolfo is ready for the big leagues at this point is a mystery.