The biggest elbow injury news came two weeks ago when it was announced that Hunter Greene had a sprained right UCL in his elbow. A sprain, of course, means a tear. For Greene, he’s going the rehab route to see if things can recover before deciding if surgery will be necessary.

That wasn’t the case this past week for right handed pitcher Stephen Keller. The righty was selected by the Reds in the 2017 drafted out of Hargrave High School in Texas. He pitched for the AZL Reds that season, and was pitching with the Greeneville Reds this season before suffering his injury. Unless I’ve never seen a Tommy John scar before, Stephen Keller had his elbow cut open and repaired this past week. The 20-year-old is almost guaranteed to miss all of the 2019 season as he recovers.

Unfortunately Stephen Keller and Hunter Greene weren’t the only players to injure their UCL’s lately. Reliever Jeremy Kivel was also placed on the disabled list with a sprained UCL this week. Kivel has already had a Tommy John surgery in the past. He missed all of the 2017 season, and part of the 2018 season as he recovered. At this point I do not know what the next step will be for Kivel – whether he will go down the route that Greene did, or if he will require another surgery.

Reds sign Courtney Hawkins

The Cincinnati Reds have signed former 1st round pick Courtney Hawkins. He was playing with the Sugar Land Skeeters in independent ball. Over 88 games he was hitting .285/.342/.505 with 18 home runs, 25 walks, and he had 79 strikeouts.

Courtney Hawkins began the 2018 season with the Birmingham Barons, but his last game was played on April 16th. He was hitting .120 through nine games before he was released. In his minor league career, across seven seasons, he hit .222/.284/.397.

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10 Responses

  1. Wes

    Hawkins was highly regarded coming out. Worth picking him up. Still only 24 a lot of times sluggers can’t produce in majors til they come in their prime like Chris Davis.

    • Stockss

      Chris Davis?

      As a 21 year old in A+ ball his OPS was .913
      As a 22 year old in AA ball his OPS was .994
      As a 22 year old in AAA ball his OPS was 1.087

      I think you were thinking of someone else but I can’t figure it out. Khris Davis was pretty special when young too.

      • Wes

        Nope. That one. The one who went on to play 300 games in 4 seasons after that. Then hit 53 homers at 27.

  2. Bob Anderson

    Do we have to go over this again? A sprain does not necessarily mean a real “tear”. There are 3 grades. The first is a nonstructural injury to the UCL, which is pretty common. That is what Hunter had……….they are also acute, meaning like it was a pitch, or series of pitches recently that caused the issues. Disco had a mild grade 2 sprain, which means he has some structural damage to his elbow. It will never be back to full strength. He will have to keep strengthening it so the rigors of pitching can be withstood, much like a ACL tear. Bailey and Harvey had grade 3 sprains, these guys completely blew out their arms. It is no wonder why they have never regained their talent.

  3. Doc

    Grade 1 sprain – UCL is not structurally damaged but is painful.
    Grade 2 sprain – UCL is stretched but still functions.
    Grade 3 sprain – UCL is torn.

    Reference –, for those who would like to read further.

  4. Rich H

    This article actually made me really happy, when I read the headline I was positive Santillan and Gutierrez both lost arms in separate shark attacks, keeping with recent Reds Minors luck.

  5. Patmc

    I think you should revise or clarify your statement “a sprain, of course, means a tear”.
    1. This doesn’t warrant an “of course”
    2. It’s not even factually correct, as others have pointed out.

  6. Ryan

    Thanks for the updates Doug, even if it’s unwelcomed news. Kivel can’t catch a break, wish him the best. I thought a sprained ucl was a tear as well, thanks for the info guys.

  7. The Duke

    I’m paranoid that Greene will rehab his elbow, then end up needing surgery in April 2019 and end up missing all of 2019 and half or more of 2020. The Reds wait and see approach has bit them more than once.