Diamondbacks' Taijuan Walker out for season with UCL tear

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Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taijuan Walker throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, April 14, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Source: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taijuan Walker throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, April 14, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Source: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Matt Koch throws during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, April 7, 2018, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 5-3. (Source: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Matt Koch throws during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, April 7, 2018, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 5-3. (Source: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/AP) -

Diamondbacks pitcher Taijuan Walker will have Tommy John Surgery.

The D-backs announced the news a day after sending Walker, 25, to New York to get a second opinion on a torn UCL. Walker had to leave his start with forearm tightness after the second inning Saturday night in Los Angeles.

[RELATED: Pollock's two homers lift Diamondbacks to win over Dodgers]

He had an MRI on Tuesday, then sought a second opinion and was headed back to Arizona on Wednesday.

Walker went 9-9 with a 3.49 ERA in 28 starts last season, helping Arizona make the playoffs as a wild card. He had no record and a 3.46 ERA in three starts this year.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Diamondbacks]

Manager Torey Lovullo says Walker's injury "was significant enough that a conservative approach would not be the best bet." He says it's "terribly disappointing."

"Tommy John Surgery, more formally known as ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction, is used to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament inside the elbow," explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. The procedure involves taking a tendon from another part of the patient's body (or from a donor) and then grafted inside the elbow to "act as a new UCL," which helps secure the elbow joint.

While the surgery is often handled as an outpatient procedure, the recovery time for pitchers is generally at least a year. 

"Based on long-term studies of athletes over the years, the chances of a complete recovery after surgery are estimated at 85 to 90 percent," according to Houston Methodist.

[RELATED VIDEO: A closer look at Tommy John surgery]

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The surgery is named for Tommy John , the first baseball player to undergo the procedure in 1974. He was out for the entire 1975 season, returning for 1976. He went on to win 164 games post-surgery and retired in 1989.

The D-backs will bring up Matt Koch from Triple-A Reno to start in Walker's place on Friday against San Diego.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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