The Chicago Cubs placed relief pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa on the disabled list this past weekend. Early reports were that he had a strained forearm, similar to the injury he suffered earlier in the season. Yesterday, the Cubs had Fujikawa undergo an MRI and the results are not good. According to multiple reports, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, general manager Jed Hoyer said Wednesday that Fujikawa has suffered an injury in his right elbow that will require Tommy John surgery.
I was worried that this injury was worse than the Cubs were leading on when Fujikawa told the Japanese media that he heard something “pop” in his arm. That is never a good thing. You would assume that the Cubs will get Fujikawa in to surgery as soon as possible. After the procedure, the Cubs’ relief pitcher is looking at a 10-to-14 month recovery time. Even then, it is hard to say how effective he will be.
The Cubs took a chance on Fujikawa, who has been a successful pitcher in Japan for many years. They signed him to a two-year deal this offseason and with this injury, he will probably not be back until the second half of 2014. While he was healthy this season, Fujikawa had mixed results, as his 5.25 ERA shows. That being said, he was really starting to turn his season around when he returned from the DL earlier this month. During the month of May, Fujikawa had only allowed one run in 7.2 innings pitched.
Watching him pitch, it is obvious that Fujikawa has great talent. This injury is going to be very hard to come back from, but is by no means impossible to return. Hopefully, he has a good, solid recovery and we see him again in 2014, back to his usual effective self.