Austin Adams Undergoes Flexor Tendon Surgery

Padres reliever Austin Adams surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his forearm this afternoon, reports Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link). It marks a disappointing end to a season that has been wiped out by a forearm strain he suffered in April.

The timetable on Adams’ recovery isn’t clear, but it may cost him a chunk of next season as well. Sanders likes the procedure to the one teammate Drew Pomeranza undergo last August. He’s been out for almost a calendar year and just embarked on a minor league rehab assignment a couple weeks ago. One can’t just assume players’ recovery processes will be identical, of course, but it seems as if the 31-year-old Adams could lose the bulk of the 2023 campaign.

The right-hander made just two appearances this season. Adams got into 65 games a year ago, working to a 4.10 ERA with a huge 31.5% strikeout percentage through 52 2/3 innings. He paired that swing-and-miss stuff with extreme wildness, however, walking nearly 15% of opponents and bizarrely plunking 24 batters. Adams led MLB in opponents hit by pitch, six clear of second-place Joe Musgrovedespite being a single-inning reliever.

Control woes notwithstanding, Adams could’ve worked his way into medium or high-leverage innings on the strength of his wipeout slider had he been healthy this season. Unfortunately, he’s instead spent the vast majority of the year on the 60-day injured list. Adams will be paid his $925K salary and collect a full year of service time. He’ll eclipse the four-year service threshold and remains arbitration-eligible through 2024. He wouldn’t be in line for more than a marginal raise next season if the Pads tendered him a contract, but they could elect to non-tender him and reallocate his spot on the 40-man roster over the winter if they anticipate he’ll miss the majority of the 2023 campaign.

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