Monday, July 28, 2014

Charlotte Knights SS Tyler Saladino to have Tommy John surgery

Charlotte Knights All-Star shortstop / White Sox prospect Tyler Saladino will miss the remainder of this season after suffering a tear of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament in his throwing arm.

According to a source within the White Sox organization, Saladino, who turned 25 on July 20, is scheduled to have Tommy John surgery on August 14.

The injury occurred during the Knights’ final game in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre just prior to the Triple-A All-Star break (July 9) in a game Saladino started in left field.

Saladino said that he felt something in his arm in the top of the fifth inning following a play where he threw out Railriders’ outfielder Taylor Dugas at home (off an Austin Romine single) to preserve a 2-1 Charlotte lead.

Saladino played in two games following the injury (as a DH) before being placed on the seven-day disabled list.

Saladino (.310/.367/.483) was voted to start the Triple-A All-Star Game for the International League at shortstop, but was forced to pull out after the injury. His .310 batting average remains tops among Knights players this season.

His .471 average with runners in scoring position had turned Saladino into a Charlotte fan favorite.

The same White Sox source that knew the date of the surgery also mentioned that, in their opinion, Saladino was on his way to making his Major League debut this season.

Baseball America listed Saladino as a "rising" prospect in its mid-season update, noting that he had "re-established himself as a future utility option with a strong first half at Triple-A." 

The injury raises some questions about the White Sox somewhat liberal practice of training infielders to play corner outfield positions. A throw from left field to home on the fly is a significantly more strenuous action on the arm than any throw an infielder might make.

There are two years remaining on Saladino’s contract. Position players tend to return from Tommy John surgery faster than pitchers, who typically require a full 12 months. Mid-April of 2015 is probably a safe estimate for Saladino, assuming all goes well.