Phillies pitching prospect Andrew Painter suffered a right proximal ulnar collateral ligament sprain last week and will rest for four weeks from the date of the injury before beginning a slight throwing progression, the team announced. Friday. Here’s what you need to know:
Painter arrived at camp March 2 with a “tender” elbow after throwing the day before. He underwent an MRI on March 3 which revealed the sprain, the team said, and sought a second opinion from well-known surgeon Dr Neal ElAttrache.
The 19-year-old Painter — Philadelphia’s top prospect and the No. 13 prospect in baseball, according to The Athletic’s Keith Law — was in contention for the opening day rotation.
Painter threw 29 pitches in a Grapefruit League game on March 1, allowing one run on three hits in two innings.
The Phillies selected the 6-foot-7 right-hander out of high school with the 13th pick in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Painter started the 2022 season at Low-A Clearwater and finished it at Double-A Reading while posting a 1.56 ERA and striking out 39% of the batters he faced. Rotating the Phillies before he turns 20 on April 10 would have been a rare feat: Only four teenagers have thrown a major league pitch since 1992.
What is the impact of the injury on Painter’s development?
It’s not a worst-case scenario for Painter and the Phillies, but this diagnosis won’t allay long-term fears about Painter’s future. While many UCL sprains can heal with rest, it’s possible Painter will resume his throwing program in April that he still feels pain, and the club should reassess the situation.