The first major injury to a top Minor League prospect in Spring Training actually happened before Spring Training even started.
Highly regarded right fielder Rymer Liriano -- the Padres' third-ranked and baseball's 55th-ranked prospect -- apparently tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow while long-tossing in his native Dominican Republic on Dec. 27. Liriano, who was likely ticketed for Double-A San Antonio or Triple-A Tucson to begin this season, will now miss the entirety of it. He is scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery on Wednesday in San Diego.
"It's really bad, but I'll be OK," Liriano told MLB.com. "I'm prepared to work hard. I'll be ready for next year."
In his fifth pro season in 2012, the 21-year-old Liriano posted a .280/.350/.417 slash line in 127 games split between Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore and San Antonio. He then excelled in the Arizona Fall League, batting .319 and lifting four longballs in 22 games before reporting for duty in the Dominican Winter League.
Still turning many of his tools into skills, the righty-hitting Liriano has the talents to do just about anything on the field. He had three straight seasons going of 30-plus steals and is still developing his power in the batter's box.
Liriano likely will be able to resume hitting in six months -- his throwing program should be delayed longer -- and will have the opportunity to make up for games lost by returning to both the AFL and DWL circuits.
"It's a bummer," Padres manager Bud Black told MLB.com. "He made great strides last year."