It’s official. Alex White will undergo Tommy John surgery next week. White, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list last Saturday with a sore elbow, has been advised by three different doctors that the ligament replacement procedure is his best long term option. White tried to pitch through what he thought was normal soreness until he realized it wasn’t getting better.
White was acquired from Colorado during the offseason, along with Alex Gillingham, in exchange for Wilton Lopez. Gillingham will start the season at Lancaster. At the time, I liked the trade. If you had told me that one of these guys would need Tommy John surgery before throwing a single pitch in the regular season, I would have guessed it would be Lopez. The Astros had a previous deal in place to send Wilton to Philadelphia, but his elbow was deemed too risky by the Phillies team doctors.
With White out of the picture the Astros decided to go with Edgar Gonzalez as their long man out of the bullpen. That is, until the acquisition of left-hander Travis Blackley. The Astros picked up Blackley yesterday in exchange for minor league outfielder Jake Goebbert. To make room for Blackley on the roster the Astros have designated Gonzalez for assignment.
Gonzalez, who made six starts for the Astros last season, did not make an appearance in the opening series against the Rangers. The right-hander from Mexico came to Spring Training as a non-roster player and earned a spot on the club by posting a 1.00 WHIP and striking out 10 in 13 innings.
Blackley was effective as both a starter and a reliever for the Athletics last season. However, he had a horrendous spring and was removed from the A’s 40-man roster. Travis will be in uniform for tonight’s game against his former team. I’d be surprised to see him pitch in this series, for a couple of reasons. Not only are the Athletics fully aware of his weaknesses, Blackley hasn’t pitched in over a week. A couple of bullpen sessions with Dennis Martinez should be in order before Travis sees any game action.