DENVER — Tyler Kinley, the Rockies' top reliever, is likely out for the rest of the season with an arm injury.
Kinley started feeling soreness last week while the team was in San Francisco — something he's experienced before — and the team thought a few days off would do the trick. The symptoms didn't dissolve on their own though, and an MRI revealed a right elbow sprain and a flexor tear. He will undergo a procedure soon, and they'll determine next steps from there.
Kinley was in the middle of the best season of his career, and had given up just two earned runs in 24 innings. His 0.75 ERA was the second-lowest in the National League on June 8, the last game he pitched. Kinley had a chance to make his first All-Star team.
"It's frustrating for Tyler first and foremost because he was throwing the ball so well and was in such a good place fundamentally with his mechanics, mentally with his confidence and his place on the team," manager Bud Black said. "It was just trending upward, his career path ... to have this happen is such a bummer."
Kinley revamped his slider in the off-season, which in turn has helped his fastball improve. The slider is his swing-and-miss pitch, while the fastball is usually his setup. His confidence has grown. And the Rockies have trusted him in key late-inning spots this season.
The good news for Kinley is that he will likely not need a second Tommy John surgery, which would have been career-threatening news.
"It's tough," he said on Tuesday, before he had the results of the MRI. "Even days I feel great and I'm told I can't pitch that day is tough for me. There's not much I can do."