New Hampshire Fisher Cats catcher A.J. Jimenez appears to be headed for Tommy John surgery to replace the ulnar collateral ligament in his right (throwing) elbow, according to a blog entry from Kevin Gray of the New Hampshire Union Leader late last night. It’s a major blow for Jimenez, one of the Blue Jays’ top prospects and considered one of the best defensive catchers in the minor leagues, as he could be out until next spring at the earliest.
“Jimenez had pictures taken at a local hospital and later left the ballpark with his elbow wrapped,” writes Gray. “He told Fisher Cats fan Brad Bacon that surgery was already scheduled. Fisher Cats manager Sal Fasano said Jimenez will receive a second opinion but is ‘most likely’ headed for TJS [and that] the elbow ligament is ‘hanging by a thread.'”
After being bothered by a sore right elbow earlier this month, Jimenez was placed on the 7-day disabled list on Tuesday before finding out the bad news last night. The 22-year-old hasn’t appeared in a game for the Fisher Cats since May 13, and one has to wonder if the discomfort in his elbow affected his hitting, considering he’s managed just a .237 average and .558 OPS over his last 10 most recent games.
It’s more likely that he’s just having trouble adjusting to Double-A pitching, though, because his elbow hasn’t taken anything away from his spectacular defense behind the plate this season. Jimenez has been a big reason why the Fisher Cats are ranked first in the Eastern League in caught stealing percentage so far in 2012, as he has gunned down 12 of 22 potential base stealers for an uncanny 55% rate.
Jimenez recently caught up with 1 Blue Jays Way to discuss playing for Sal Fasano, playing in New Hampshire, his draft process and more, so have a listen to that as more details about his injury trickle in.
In a corresponding roster move, the Fisher Cats called up Sean Ochinko from High-A Dunedin.