We may have to soon add Johnny Hellweg's name to a list that continues to grow.
The Brewers' No. 7 prospect is reportedly facing Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed by Milwaukee head physican Dr. William Raasch with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Hellweg is expected to get a second opinion next week from Dr. James Andrews, a well-known expert in the field of elbow injuries. If he does undergo the surgery, rehab time is expected to take 12-18 months.
The 6-foot-9 right-hander last appeared on the mound Sunday for Triple-A Nashville. He tossed 3 2/3 innings before feeling a pop in his throwing elbow and actually made nine more pitches before exiting.
Hellweg was 1-2 with a 4.95 ERA, 12 strikeouts and 15 walks through his four starts (20 innings) for the Sounds at the time of the injury. He was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year in 2013 after going 13-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 23 starts at the Triple-A level. In eight career Major League appearances, he is 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA, nine strikeouts and 26 walks. He was acquired by the Brewers along with shortstop Jean Segura and right-hander Ariel Pena in the 2012 deal that sent Zack Greinke to the Angels.
Tommy John has been one of the most-uttered phrases in baseball circles already this season. On the prospect scene, third baseman Miguel Sano and right-hander Jameson Taillon -- both of whom rank among MLB.com's top 20 prospects -- have already undergone the procedure. In the Majors, Matt Moore, Brandon Beachy, Jarrod Parker, Kris Medlen and Patrick Corbin have needed the surgery with Ivan Nova reportedly next.
"I don't know if I'd call it an epidemic, but it's certainly been an injury of note this season," Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash told MLB.com. "We had two [Tommy John surgeries in the Minor League system] last year. We're probably on the lower number of clubs in this over the last four or five years."
In the case of Hellweg, however, the club maintains that Hellweg's particular injury came out of nowhere.
"There were no warning signs of any kind," Ash told MLB.com.