Arodys Vizcaino, the Atlanta Braves' No. 2 prospect, will miss the 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.
Vizcaino, who reached the Majors last season after the Braves converted him to a reliever at Triple-A Gwinnett, was competing for a spot on Atlanta's Opening Day roster this spring before feeling discomfort in his elbow on March 3. The right-hander, who avoided the procedure following pain in 2010, now hopes to be ready for the 2013 season.
"As long as the player is functional and not having any major difficulties, you don't want to go in and do something until it gets to that point," Braves general manager Frank Wren told MLB.com. "That's where we are."
Vizcaino, 21, went 5-5 with a 3.06 ERA in 26 Minor League games last season, including 17 starts. He struck out 100 batters in 97 innings before reaching the Majors as a reliever, appearing in 17 games out of Atlanta's bullpen. With the Braves, Vizcaino went 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA and allowed one homer in 17 1/3 frames.
Vizcaino -- rated the No. 36 prospect entering 2012 by MLB.com -- avoided surgery in 2010 when the Braves diagnosed him with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.
After examining the same ligament on Monday, Dr. James Andrews determined Vizcaino would need surgery.
"There's guys that have ligaments that don't look good on MRI and they play their whole career," Wren said. "Greg Maddux's ligament was, from what I've been told, one of the worst-looking ligaments they have seen. But he continued to pitch and it never really became a problem."
The Braves acquired Vizcaino in 2009 in a trade that sent Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan to the Bronx and brought Melky Cabrera to Atlanta. He was a South Atlantic League All-Star in 2010 and pitched for the World Team in the 2011 All-Star Futures Game.
"Our early thoughts were that he was on the bubble to go to Triple-A or make our club," Wren said. "That was our early thought coming into Spring Training. We're still looking at how the bullpen sets up."