Brewers rookie Gasser opts for season-ending TJ surgery

June 21st, 2024

SAN DIEGO -- Reluctantly, Brewers pitching prospect is pulling the plug on his promising debut season with an eye toward being healthy by this time next year.

The 25-year-old left-hander, rated Milwaukee’s No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline, has elected to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery after getting a third opinion on his injured left elbow from noted surgeon Dr. Keith Meister, who is scheduled to perform the repair on Monday in Dallas. The recovery is expected to take 12 months, though the precise timeline will depend on the details of the repair, said Gasser.

Meister and Dr. Neal ElAttrache each recommended a surgical route after Gasser’s initial diagnosis suggested the ligament in his elbow was sound enough to attempt a non-surgical repair. In that scenario, Gasser would have had a chance to pitch again this season. But that carried the risk of merely delaying a surgery he would need later anyway.

“When I weighed the options, it’s like, even if I finished the year healthy I would still have that lingering thought in the back of my head of, ‘Am I really OK?’” Gasser said. “Obviously, I want to pitch, but I want to do that 100 percent healthy, knowing everything is right.”

Gasser was 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in his first five Major League starts beginning with six scoreless innings in a dazzling debut against the Cardinals on May 10. His final outing was June 1 against the White Sox and he landed on the injured list four days later with a left flexor tendon strain.

The Brewers acquired Gasser as part of a package of players in the August 2022 trade that sent closer Josh Hader to the Padres.

“I think the one thing he got out of the year was he understands, ‘I can pitch in the big leagues. I can be successful,’” Brewers manager Pat Murphy said. “He had as good a five starts as anybody can hope for from [a pitcher’s] first five starts in the big leagues. I think that’s a big win for the organization and a win for him.”

Gasser will focus on that positive as he begins a long comeback road.

“If it goes well, hopefully I get a good recovery and we’ll be in the same spot [as a team] next year and I can help,” Gasser said. “I’m definitely not going to let what I did here slip out of my mind. It felt really good and it sucks that it’s getting cut short.”