Top Phillies prospect Andrew Painter needs Tommy John surgery

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Thursday, July 20, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies medical staff has recommended right-handed pitching prospect Andrew Painter have surgery on his right elbow.

The team said Wednesday that a UCL reconstruction on Painter's elbow was advised along with ulnar nerve transposition surgery. The 20-year-old sprained the ulnar collateral ligament during spring training in March.

The Phillies said Painter had continued to experience symptoms after bullpen sessions and that tests have shown "interval healing" in his elbow. The hope was that Painter could avoid surgery with a conservative throwing program and rehab process, but the discomfort persisted.

"There actually has been healing, but it's still bothering him," Dave Dombrowski, the Phillies president of baseball operations, told reporters prior to Wednesday's game against theMilwaukee Brewers.

Painter is scheduled to consult with Dodgers head team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Monday in Los Angeles.

If ElAttrache agrees with the Phillies' medical staff's assessment, the doctor will perform surgery July 26 in Los Angeles. In this scenario, Painter likely will miss all of the 2024 season with a targeted return for spring training in 2025. ElAttrache is the same doctor who performed Tommy John surgery on Phillies slugger Bryce Harper's right elbow in the offseason.

"This is a young kid who has a lot of talent, works hard, very mature," Phillies manager Rob Thomson said before Wednesday's game. "I feel terrible for him, really."

Painter had emerged during spring training as a candidate to make the Phillies' Opening Day roster and reached nearly 100 mph while facing Carlos Correa in spring training.

The 6-foot-7 Painter was the 13th overall pick in the 2021 amateur draft and signed for a $3.9 million bonus.