Susan Slusser confirms some sad but not very surprising news out of Oakland this afternoon: Athletics pitcher Ben Sheets(notes) has a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow and will require season-ending surgery.
I guess I should have known better to write last week that it was a surprise Sheets was still healthy enough to serve as potential trade bait for contenders.
At any rate, if those terms mentioned above seem familiar, it's because they are. The same injury was discovered on Sheets just as he was coming to terms on a contract with the Texas Rangers before last season and the ensuing rehab cost him the entire 2009 season.
When he finally came back in 2010, he was only able to get a one-year contract — though it was worth $10 million — from GM Billy Beane and Oakland.
At age 32, Sheets is still young enough to fight back from another injury, but the question will be whether or not he has another long rehab stint in him.
Sites with much less restraint are already throwing around the phrase "career-ending," but the man himself has yet to mention it. Sheets has always seemed like he was only born to throw a baseball, so I'd figure that he'd try to make yet another comeback, no matter how difficult it will be.
Still, make no mistake: This is a very serious development for Sheets and it only adds to the tremendous peaks and valleys he's experienced as one of the most star-crossed pitchers of his generation. It was only two years ago that he was starting the All-Star Game in New York for the National League, but now he's looking at another of his patented major setbacks.