The good news is that David Aardsma's hip is just fine. The bad news is that his right arm is not. After making good progress in his rehab stint with Tacoma, Aardsma was recently shut down with a bit of forearm stiffness. It wasn't thought to be a big deal, but Aardsma had an MRI on Friday, and four days later a radiologist has finally come in to look over the results and inform Aardsma that he has a grade 2 sprain of his UCL.
A grade 2 sprain, as you might imagine, is better than a grade 3 sprain, but worse than a grade 1 sprain. A grade 2 sprain is a partial tear of the ligament, and as such, Aardsma is going to pay a visit to Dr. Lewis Yocum. Dr. Yocum is both an expert specialist and a terrifying, terrifying man for all pitchers, despite his adorable little mustache.
The UCL, of course, is the ligament that often requires Tommy John surgery when torn, so this is a terrible break, and while Aardsma may not need to go under the knife - after all, he doesn't have a grade 3 sprain - he is at least presumably staring at a considerable period of physical rehab. Which means you shouldn't expect him back on theany time soon.
I suppose this is sort of bittersweet news for Brandon League, who'll now get to hang on to his closer role for the foreseeable future. But for the rest of us, it totally sucks. Even if Aardsma's only out a little while, it's a little while longer than we expected him to be, meaning the Mariners will have a worse bullpen for now while they're competitive, and less to trade around the deadline in case they drop out. David Aardsma is not an elite-level reliever, but he's both a talented and appealing one that would've been nice to have healthy and on the roster by now or next week for a number of reasons.
We can hope for good news from Dr. Yocum. But Dr. Yocum doesn't give a lot of good news. In that way, he's kind of a dick.