Dodgers left-hander Darien Núñez will undergo Tommy John surgery, which will end his 2022 season, per reports from both Francys Romero and The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya.
Source: Cuban LHP Darien Nuñez (29) will require Tommy John surgery. He will travel to Los Angeles this Sunday and the surgery will take place on Tuesday.— Francys Romero (@francysromeroFR) April 23, 2022
It’s a shame, considering everything he had to go through to get the Big Leagues, but surely he will come back stronger. pic.twitter.com/ZQ1PEOzrou
Darien Núñez will need Tommy John surgery, source confirms what @francysromeroFR said yesterday. Made his debut last year, didn’t make Opening Day roster but is still on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) April 23, 2022
Núñez started the season in Triple-A, and pitched in three games for Oklahoma City, allowing four runs on five hits in 4⅔ innings, with six strikeouts and two walks. He was optioned to the minors during spring training on March 27.
The left-hander last pitched on April 10, and was placed on the seven-day minor league injured list on April 14. The Dodgers haven’t officially announced any sort of status regarding Núñez.
Núñez, who turned 29 in March, signed with the Dodgers as an international free agent in April 2018. He made his major league debut last July 9, and pitched in six games for the Dodgers last season, going back and forth between the majors and Oklahoma City. He posted a 8.22 ERA with eight strikeouts in the majors in 2021, and a 2.42 ERA in Triple-A with 80 strikeouts in 52 innings for OKC.
He was on the 40-man roster, which means should the Dodgers need to add another player, they can place Núñez on the 60-day major league injured list to make room. Doing so would earn Núñez a major league salary for the remainder of the season, rather than his current minor league rate.
Instead, on Sunday, the Dodgers opted for the less costly option, instead designating Núñez for assignment, removing him from the 40-man roster. Baseball is a cruel business sometimes.