Royals' Hochevar to have Tommy John surgery
KANSAS CITY Royals righthander Luke Hochevar will have Tommy John surgery that will sideline the pitcher for the season.
Hochevar felt a twinge in his elbow on the next-to-last pitch of a scoreless two-inning outing Monday against the Chicago White Sox.
An MRI Tuesday revealed a major tear of the ulnar collateral ligament. The severity of the injury was confirmed Thursday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.
"What I didn't want to hear," Hochevar said yesterday.
Hochevar missed nearly 3 months in 2010 with a sprained right elbow, making only 17 starts that season.
"I knew this day was coming," Hochevar said. "After the first time I hurt it, I knew it was coming. I'm extremely thankful it held up for four years."
Hochevar, 30, went 5-2 with a 1.92 ERA and two saves in 58 relief appearances last season. He held opponents to a .169 batting average, which ranked third among AL relievers with at least 60 innings.
Hochevar switched to the bullpen last year after going 38-59 with a 5.44 ERA in 128 career starts.
Hochevar was the first player picked in the 2006 draft. He will make $5.21 million this year and is eligible for free agency after this season.
"We wouldn't rule Luke out for the future," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "We'll hopefully be able to keep him in the organization going forward."
Free agency, however, was not on Hochevar's mind with surgery pending to replace the ligament in his elbow.
"That is irrelevant right now," Hochevar said. "That will all fall into play if I'm healthy and I can pitch."
Manager Ned Yost said Hochevar decided to have surgery in the next weeks instead of instead of rest and rehab for 2 months.
The Royals won 86 games last year, their most victories since the 1989 club went 92-70. Kansas City hasn't been in the playoffs since winning the 1985 World Series.
In another matter, pitcher Brad Penny was released from a minor league contract following a poor start to spring training. The 35-year-old righthander, an All-Star with the Dodgers in 2006 and 2007, gave up four runs and eight hits in two innings Thursday against the White Sox, who hit three doubles and a home run. He allowed 13 hits over four innings in two spring training appearances and had a 15.75 ERA.
Penny missed last season to rest his right shoulder after going 0-1 with a 6.11 ERA for San Francisco in 2012. He has a 119-100 record with a 4.26 ERA in 13 major league seasons.
* A person familiar with the negotiations says lefthander Oliver Perez. 32, and the Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a $4.25 million, 2-year contract, subject to passing a physical. He was 3-3 with a 3.74 ERA last year in his second season with Seattle.