Seattle Mariners top pitching prospect Danny Hultzen had surgery in his shoulder on Tuesday, reports CBSSports.com. The procedure repaired partial tears in Hultzen's rotator cuff and capsule, in addition to cleaning up his labrum.
There is not yet a timetable given for his return. Tears in the rotator cuff can be devastating to pitchers' careers. Mark Mulder had surgery on a torn rotator cuff before the 2007 season and was out of baseball less than three years later. Hultzen's youth and the fact that his was just a partial tear will play in his favor. Still, rotator cuff surgeries can lead to more stiffness even when healthy.
Hultzen missed most of the 2013 season with shoulder issues, suffering several setbacks when he attempted to pitch again. When he did pitch, he excelled. In six starts with Triple-A Tacoma, Hultzen posted a 2.05 ERA and 0.85 WHIP while striking out 10 batters per nine innings.
The Mariners made Hultzen the second overall pick of the 2011 draft. He has been a top prospect ever since, ranking within the top 30 prospects nationwide by Baseball America and in the top 20 on MLB.com. Minor League Ball's John Sickels gave him a B+ grade prior to 2013 and named him the third best prospect in the Mariners system.