Seattle Mariners closer David Aardsma has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament and will seek a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum. Aardsma started the year on the 15-day disabled list and his rehab assignment in Tacoma was halted after the soreness in his arm appeared.
Grade 2 sprains can often be rehabilitated without invasive treatment but if conventional methods are not successful then Tommy John surgery is typically required. The recovery time varies with anywhere from 2-4 weeks the expected range where surgery is not required to 12-18 months should the procedure be deemed necessary. While the rehabilitation period is significant, recovery rates are excellent with upwards of 85% of those undergoing the surgery making a full recovery.
In Aardsma's stead the Mariners have turned to Brandon League in the closer's role and League has been excellent, posting an ERA of 3.77 and an xFIP of 2.95 in 12.1 innings of relief. Despite League's success, the Mariners bullpen has been somewhat spotty, with surprisingly solid performances from Jamey Wright, David Pauley and Aaron Laffey dampened somewhat by the efforts of Josh Lueke, Chris Ray and Tom Wilhelmsen. While the Mariners Bullpen hasn't been a weakness in terms of results to this point, it goes without saying that the club would find David Aardsma a greatly preferable option to any of the pitchers currently residing at the back of the bullpen.