Rockies top prospect Veen has season-ending left wrist surgery

June 23rd, 2023

DENVER -- Zac Veen, ranked as the Rockies’ No. 1 prospect and No. 29 overall by MLB Pipeline, underwent surgery to repair a left wrist tendon on Thursday and he will miss the remainder of the Double-A Hartford season.

Veen, who was selected ninth overall by Colorado in the 2020 MLB Draft, announced the surgery -- performed in New York by noted surgeon Dr. Michelle Carlson -- via social media with a hospital bed photo and a one-word statement, “Unbreakable.”

Rockies player development director Chris Forbes acknowledged the surgery, and the fact that Veen’s injured wrist had been a long-term problem.

Veen’s agent, Jason Romano, said the surgery was to the extensor capri ulnaris (ECU) tendon in the left wrist -- the top hand in Veen’s left-handed-hitting swing.

“He just lost all kind of ability to stay through the ball, because the top hand just gives out and gets weak,” Romano said.

Unable to provide power to his swing, Veen hit .209 with two home runs and 24 RBIs in 46 games for Hartford in a season that he and the Rockies hoped would feature his Major League debut.

Romano acknowledged that Veen has quietly dealt with the injury since just before the 2022 All-Star break, which he sustained while diving for a ball in the outfield playing with Class-A Spokane.

Veen appeared in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium, and played in the Arizona Fall League following the 2022 season.

But after hitting 11 home runs for Spokane through July 12, Veen hit just one more the rest of the ‘22 season after being promoted to Hartford, where he hit .177 in 34 games.

After the season, Veen played in the Arizona Fall League, and batted .333 with six doubles but just one homer. However, his dynamic speed and all-around game earned him the prospect loop’s Offensive Player of the Year honor.

Keeping quiet publicly, Veen participated in Major League Spring Training for the first time, but was sent to Hartford. The hope, though, was Veen would gain experience as one of the younger players in the Eastern League, and earn a Major League callup by season’s end.

However, Veen was on and off the injured list, and he missed time for a family matter and could not gain traction.

“He went to Spring Training, trying to make the team, again battling through it, trying to have a chance to get called up as a young kid,” Romano said. “He rang the bell about a month or three weeks ago, and got it looked at and got a second opinion.

“It just kept hurting him and we sent him to a specialist, Dr. Carlson in New York. She’s one of the best. She’s been doing this for 30 years and she said he’s got severe fraying in tendons, and there’s potential he could rupture it any day if he keeps swinging. It was bad, one of the worst she’s seen.”

Romano said Veen will not participate in baseball activities until December, and at some point Veen would look into the possibility of playing winter ball.