Dunning to have surgery for nagging hip injury

September 24th, 2022

ARLINGTON -- Rangers right-hander will undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip, general manager Chris Young announced on Saturday.

Both Dunning and Young said it was something that had been bothering the 27-year-old throughout the season and possibly prevented him from being as competitive as he would have liked.

“On start days, I’ve got so much adrenaline built up that I could feel it only a little bit,” Dunning said. “I can't say I was at 100%, but I was able to get through the starts. I tried to just push through it throughout the year, and just got to a point now where we felt that it's the right opportunity to be able to go ahead and get it done and hopefully go into next year stronger.”

Dunning said that earlier in the season, he originally thought he was having regular back pains. After going to athletic trainer Jacob Newburn to get his hips adjusted, the pain flared up more concentrated on his hip area.

About a month ago, the Rangers sent Dunning to get the MRI where they discovered the torn labrum. He said it flared up the worst he had felt all season after the first pitch against the Blue Jays on Sept. 9.

“For the most part throughout the season, it's always been like throughout the week it would kind of hurt, and I'll just deal with as much maintenance as I can to be able to get it healthy for my starts,” Dunning said. “And then really after that play, it just was just worse than normal.”

He made two more starts after that game against Toronto, bringing his season ERA to 4.46. Dunning didn’t quite take the step forward as anticipated this season, and it’s likely the lingering injury had a bigger effect on his mechanics than expected in the moment.

Young said the surgery -- scheduled for Monday -- is expected to be “minimally invasive and easy.” The recovery time is unknown but should be more clearly laid out after the surgery’s completion.

“Certainly our hope is that by the beginning of next season, Dane is ready and good to go,” Young said.

This leaves the Rangers potentially in need of four starting pitchers going into 2023, though they do still have hopes of re-signing lefty Martín Pérez, who is set to be a free agent this offseason.

“I think independently of [Dunning’s injury], we were looking to improve our pitching,” Young said. “I think we'd probably hoped that Dane would be in the rotation next year, but I don't think it was a guarantee. It was going to be performance-based. It's always performance-based. So we're going to look to put the best pitching staff together that we can, and our hope is that Dane makes a full recovery and is a part of that.

“Potentially, [looking at adding three or four starters] yeah. Whether or not those are all going to be Major League deals or not, we'll assess it. But there's going to be a robust free-agent market and trade market, and we'll explore every way we can to make the team better.”