The Pittsburgh Pirates suffered another tough blow as the team announced Monday evening that catcher Endy Rodriguez will miss the entire 2024 season after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his UCL.
Rodriguez’s injury stems from an injury suffered during an at-bat November 13 while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
On November 13, while playing in a Winter Ball game in the Dominican Republic, Endy Rodriguez injured himself during an at-bat while swinging. After multiple examinations, Endy had reconstructive surgery on the UCL and a repair of the flexor tendon earlier today.— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) December 13, 2023
Rodriguez is just one of several key players to undergo Tommy John Surgery in 2023. He joins the likes of pitchers J.T. Brubaker, Mike Burrows and, more recently, Johan Oviedo.
Rodriguez was coming off a rookie season where he hit a pedestrian .220 with three home runs and 13 RBI, but excelled defensively. He finished 19th among MLB catchers in defense and prevented just under four runs while nabbing eight base stealers.
DON'T RUN ON ENDY RODRIGUEZ— Platinum Ke’Bryan (@PlatinumKey13) September 28, 2023
1.86 sec pop time
(For reference, J.T. Realmuto's 1.84 sec average pop time leads MLB) pic.twitter.com/6jJdrEE4M0
His absence also leaves a questionable catching platoon, which is now led by former top overall pick Henry Davis, who spent the majority of innings in right field last season; veteran backup Jason Delay; and newly-acquired Ali Sanchez, who spent fewer than 10 games in the majors.
The amount of Pirates players dealing with elbow issues is becoming highly suspicious, especially pitchers. Everyone knows injuries can happen at any time but it just seems like the Pirates have had an unusual amount of players go to the infirmary for Tommy John Surgery.
Fans have speculated whether the athletic training staff is to blame or if the organization is setting up players to overwork themselves to a point where their bodies are just worn out. The second option seems more likely, in my opinion, but we can cover that in a future commentary piece.
For now, though, the Pirates will go back to the drawing board to restructure the catching position.
Too bad Austin Hedges was already signed!