Ben Sheets to Have Elbow Surgery—Midseason Return Possible

Russell Martin-JenkinsCorrespondent IFebruary 5, 2009

It was announced today that free agent pitcher Ben Sheets will have surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his throwing arm.

Two weeks ago, he agreed to a two-year-deal with the Texas Rangers for an undisclosed amount until a physical turned up the elbow issue. Early on in the offseason, it had been hinted that Sheets—a Louisiana native who lives in Texas—was most likely to sign with the pitching-needy Rangers.

However, as recently as yesterday, sources had begun to seriously question why a No. 1 starter—even one with his injury history—was still available.  He is still available after most of the top pitchers have already inked sizable deals.

Even though the elbow surgery Sheets will undergo usually requires a 9-10 month recovery time, he is hoping for a possible July or August return. It could make him a strong pickup for any team in the thick of the pennant race, assuming he is healthy.

It is possible that he could be used in a late-inning relief role to take advantage of his occasionally overpowering stuff.  This would be done in an effort to come back quicker with more effectiveness.

Ben Sheets may expect the Brewers to pay for his surgery, though why should his former team cover the cost of a surgery?  He did not disclose this to them while still under contract.