LSU Baseball Coach Paul Mainieri announced today that pitcher Eric Walker will undergo surgery for a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of his right elbow, causing him to miss the 2018 season. Tiger Rag Associate Editor James Moran says this is bad news for the Tigers as they expected him to be the starting Friday night pitcher.
“Obviously a tough blow that has a ripple effect. They probably have some guys, they can probably still fill out a rotation, I image it will be Hess, Gilbert, maybe a Todd Peterson or Nick Storz (LSU signee) type but obviously this isn’t good.”
The surgery is known as the Tommy John surgery where the ligament is replaced by a tendon from somewhere else in the body. Moran says there will now be three new weekend starters for the 2018 season.
“Yeah this isn’t good, you’re losing most of your line up. You still have a pretty good young core with Josh Smith, Zach Watson and Duplantis but this one hurts, there is no way around that.”
Walker first complained of discomfort in his forearm before the College World Series. He tried to pitch in a game in Omaha, but left in the third inning, because he felt the pain reach his elbow.
Moran says this surgery was inevitable, regardless if Walker pitched during the College World Series.
“With arms, it’s always just kind of a ticking time bomb, once you get hurt you can kind of treat it and manage it but eventually that ligament is going to pop and if it wasn’t then it probably would’ve been the first time he picked up a ball in the fall.”
He was 8-2 with a 3.48 ERA during his freshman campaign.