Yordano Ventura gets good news, avoids Tommy John surgery — for now

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (30) takes the ball from catcher Salvador Perez, right, after loading the bases full during the first inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Monday, May 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

OK, Kansas City, you can stop holding your breath now.

Yordano Ventura's MRI came back clean, meaning the Royals' young fire baller doesn't have any ligament damage in his elbow and he won't need Tommy John surgery. Not right now, anyway.

Ventura left Monday night's game with elbow discomfort, and considering how many elbow injuries have turned into Tommy John surgeries this season, most fans and pundits were assuming the worst. Count Ventura, 22, as one of the lucky ones.

More than 30 pitchers have succumb to Tommy John surgery since spring training. Ventura is the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in baseball, and that's essentially a pre-existing condition when sizing up Tommy John probabilities.

As Andy McCullough from the Kansas City Star snarkily notes, elbow injuries often linger and can turn into Tommy John down the road. It could be a few months or a few years, but given Ventura's velocity and the fact that he's already feeling some elbow pain, he's hardly in the clear for the long run.

He might not need Tommy John surgery this week, but there's still a good chance he'll need it one day.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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