LOS ANGELES — Grant Dayton was hoping for a return to the Dodgers for the stretch run and the playoffs, but instead the left-hander will miss the rest of 2017 and most of 2018, needing Tommy John surgery.
Dayton met with two doctors in the last week after feeling something pop in his elbow in his final warmup pitch before a minor league rehab outing with Double-A Tulsa. He suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.
“When I felt my elbow pop, I had a pretty good idea that’s what happened,” Dayton said. “It’s fully torn, so I’m going to have to have the surgery.”
Dayton will have the surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles, performed by Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal El Attrache. The left-hander said he wasn’t surprised by the news, given previous MRI results, but said his elbow was something that never bothered him at all, until that final warmup pitch in Tulsa.
He spent three different stints on the disabled list this season, twice for a neck strain and once for an intercostal strain, with no elbow problems.
“I was told that the UCL was in pretty bad shape, but that’s all I really knew,” Dayton said. “But if it’s in bad shape and doesn’t present any pain, then who cares? I tried to throw through it this year, and I never felt any pain this year until that last pitch.
“I knew it was in bad shape but there was no telling how long it had been that way, and quite frankly it wasn’t given me problems so it didn’t matter.”
In 29 games this season with the Dodgers, Dayton had a 4.94 ERA with 20 strikeouts and 12 walks in 23⅔ innings. This followed a 2.05 ERA 25 appearances in 2016, with 39 strikeouts against only six walks.
“I felt like I had an up and down year anyway. I was hoping to be able to redeem myself in September and hopefully be on a playoff roster, but those dreams came to an end last Friday,” he said. “I can’t dwell on it too much, because there’s a lot of work to do.”
Dayton plans to rehab at the Dodgers facility at Camelback Ranch in Arizona after his surgery. Expected recovery time is at least 12 months, and the lefty is hoping to pitch at some point in 2018.
“We’re not going to forget about him,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s a big part of what we’re doing, and he will be a big part of what we’re doing going forward.”