David Robertson’s season is over.
His career could be over.
The right-handed reliever, one of the acquisitions that gave the Phillies optimism over the winter, revealed on Wednesday that he needs surgery to repair an elbow injury. Robertson is 34 and has carried a heavy load over his career. There is no timetable for his recovery. He’s not even certain he’ll pitch again.
“Obviously, I've had those thoughts,” he said. “It's tough for me to deal with that.”
Robertson will know more about his chances of recovery after he gets a second opinion, likely from orthopedist James Andrews. Robertson was diagnosed with an injury to his flexor tendon in April. He recently had a setback that included additional damage to his ulna collateral ligament, according to Phillies doctors. He is hopeful that the injury is limited to his flexor tendon, but knows Tommy John surgery is a possibility, as well. Flexor tendon surgery would require six to eight months of rehab. Tommy John surgery can be a year or more.
“I’m hoping it’s just the flexor,” he said. “If I can get everything repaired as soon as possible and get myself in rehab as soon as possible, I think I can make it back and still be a part of this organization and pitch next year.”
Robertson, a workhorse who pitched in at least 60 games nine times for the Yankees and White Sox, signed a two-year, $23 million contract with the Phillies in December. He pitched in just seven games for the Phillies before going on the IL.
The Phillies have not gotten good results from high-priced veteran relief pitchers. Pat Neshek, who signed a two-year, $16.25 million deal before the 2018 season, missed significant time last season and again this season and team officials are not optimistic he will pitch again this season. Tommy Hunter, who signed a two-year, $18 million deal before last season, pitched in 65 games last year but just five this season. He is slated to have elbow surgery in the coming weeks.
Robertson, Neshek and Hunter were supposed to be a triumvirate of bullpen effectiveness for the Phillies.
Instead, they are collectively just one of a number of things that have gone wrong for the team in 2019.
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