It has been known for a few weeks now that Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Johan Oviedo has been dealing with an elbow injury. According to baseball reporter Francys Romero, Oviedo will have Tommy John surgery in the coming days.
The injury is a major blow to the Pirates as Oviedo will be out for the entire 2024 season. Based on the recovery time from the operation, his status to open the 2025 season will also be in serious jeopardy.
The 25-year-old is coming off a season in which he shattered his previous career-highs by making 32 starts while logging 177.2 innings. It was a solid season for Oviedo in his first opportunity with an extended look in a big league rotation. He finished the year 9-14 with a 4.31 ERA (103 ERA+) and 158 strikeouts. Oviedo threw his first-career complete game shutout in a win over the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 28.
The Pirates acquired Oviedo leading up to the 2022 trade deadline in a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates sent pitchers José Quintana and Chris Stratton to the Cardinals in exchange for Oviedo and prospect Malcom Nuñez.
Johan Oviedo becomes the fourth starting pitcher who was on the Pirates’ 40-man roster to undergo season-ending elbow surgery. The others are JT Brubaker, Vince Velasquez and Mike Burrows. Velasquez is currently a free agent while Brubaker and Burrows are both expected to be out until midseason at the earliest.
The Pirates’ starting rotation as it currently stands is alarmingly thin. Oviedo was joined by Mitch Keller as the only two full-time starters during the final stretch of the 2023 season.
The Pirates’ need for starting pitching help this winter has become even more pressing. The club is expected to add multiple starting pitchers to the mix this offseason to help round out the rotation.