SAN DIEGO — Highly regarded Phillies pitching prospect Kevin Gowdy had ligament reconstruction (Tommy John) surgery on his right elbow Tuesday, the team said.
Gowdy, 19, was rated as the top high school pitcher in California in 2016 and passed on attending UCLA when the Phillies selected him in the second round (42nd overall) of the draft and gave him a $3.5 million signing bonus.
Gowdy made four starts in the Gulf Coast League after signing last summer. He spent this season in extended spring training and had not been assigned to a minor-league club after dealing with biceps tendinitis.
Tommy John surgery typically requires at least a year of recovery time, so Gowdy will be slowed again next season. The success rate of the surgery is typically high.
A health check on several Phillies pitchers:
• Jerad Eickhoff has recovered from a strained muscle in his upper back. He pitched five innings of one-run ball against Trenton on a rehab assignment with Double A Reading on Tuesday night and has been cleared to start against San Diego on Sunday afternoon in the final game before the All-Star break.
The Phillies won't activate Eickhoff from the disabled list until Sunday.
• Vince Velasquez, recovering from a forearm strain, will start for Reading at Trenton on Thursday night. Velasquez won't be activated from the disabled list until after the All-Star break, so he will likely have at least one more rehab start after Thursday's.
Manager Pete Mackanin indicated that Velasquez would continue to work as a starter when he comes off the DL.
"I don't think there are any plans to put him in the 'pen based on what I've heard," Mackanin said.
But will there immediately be room for Velasquez in the big-league rotation? Eickhoff is expected to replace Mark Leiter Jr. Aaron Nola and Jeremy Hellickson are staying in the rotation and newcomers Ben Lively and Nick Pivetta have pitched well enough to stay. It would not be a shock to see Velasquez optioned to Triple A until an opening arises in the rotation — and that could possibly be a trade of Hellickson.
• Zach Eflin, recovering from a bout of elbow inflammation, has been throwing and could be activated to the Triple A rotation early next week.
• Right-hander Kevin Gowdy, the team's second-round pick (No. 42 overall) in last year's draft, is on the Single A Williamsport roster, but has yet to pitch as he recovers from a bout of biceps tendinitis. Director of player development Joe Jordan reports that Gowdy has been throwing and is expected to get competitive innings this summer.
Gowdy was the top-rated high school pitcher in California by Baseball America last year.
A day after introducing No. 1 pick Mickey Moniak as their newest prospect, the Phillies agreed to contract terms with four other draft selections, featuring second-round pick Kevin Gowdy, a right-handed pitcher out of Santa Barbara High School in California.
Third-rounder Cole Stobbe (SS), fourth-rounder JoJo Romero (LHP) and 11th-rounder Josh Stephen (OF) also agreed to terms with the Phillies on Wednesday.
Gowdy, 18, was selected 42nd overall by the Phillies as the top pick in the second round. At Santa Barbara, Gowdy went 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA, 93 strikeouts and five walks in 56 2/3 innings.
He was rated as the best high school pitcher in Southern California by Baseball America.
“He’s a young right-handed pitcher who has the ability to command the baseball at such a young age,” Phillies scouting director Johnny Almaraz said back on June 10. “He has an above-average fastball and good breaking stuff. I’m a believer you can’t teach somebody how to pitch. He’s got that innate ability to pitch and get hitters out and that’s what we want in this organization, frontline pitchers.”
Gowdy was at Citizens Bank Park and tweeted his excitement.
Moniak is good friends with both Gowdy and Stobbe.
"Couldn't have scripted it any better," Moniak said Tuesday when speaking about both.
The Phillies have agreed to terms with their first 14 picks and 25 of the overall 40.