Andrew Painter Shut Down with UCL Sprain

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 19: Philadelphia Phillies batting helmets sit on the wall during the MLB game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies on September 19, 2018, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Last week, Phillies prospect Andrew Painter underwent an MRI following his Spring Training debut last Wednesday against the Twins. On Friday, the Phillies announced the results of the MRI, which indicated a right proximal ulnar collateral ligament sprain.

Andrew Painter shut down with an injury

As any baseball fan knows, any time the UCL is brought up, the fear is always Tommy John surgery for a pitcher. The Phillies are hopeful, however, that they are able to avoid the surgery for the 19 year-old Painter in this case. Painter will be shutdown for four weeks (from the date of injury, so approximately three weeks remaining at the time of publish), followed by a light throwing program.

As everyone’s favorite baseball writer, Jeff Passan, defines in the tweet above, a sprain is a small ligament tear in the UCL and is relatively manageable.

Given Painter’s youthful age and the inevitability of him making his MLB debut this season, however, it is concerning that Painter is already showing signs of trouble within his UCL. It does appear likely that, while Painter will not need Tommy John surgery now, that the Phillies should anticipate him needing the surgery at an unknown point down the line.

For now, one thing is certain: Andrew Painter will not start the 2023 season on the Big League roster. The Phillies will likely take it slow with the 19-year old hurler from here on out, but it is not out of the picture for Painter to make his debut in early to mid May.

In the meantime, Bailey Falter will likely begin the 2023 season as the Phillies’ fifth starter.

“[Painter]’s getting older, getting stronger, the kid’s 19 and throws 100 (mph), so obviously you’re going to run into some problems every now and then. He seems to be in good spirits so that’s the only thing that really matters right now.”

Bailey Falter to Corey Seidman (NBC Sports Philadelphia) on Andrew Painter

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire