Yanks No. 9 prospect Bleich done for season
TRENTON — All that starting pitching depth in the Yankees’ minor league system took another major hit today when it was learned left-hander Jeremy Bleich, rated the No. 9 prospect in the organization by Baseball America, is done for the season after suffering a torn labrum.
The 44th pick overall in the 2008 first-year player draft, Bleich was summoned to Tampa last week after being placed on the Thunder disabled list May 17 with a preliminary diagnosis of shoulder stiffness.
Closer examination by team doctors revealed the tear, officially shutting Bleich down after eight starts and a 4.79 ERA.
Surgery will be performed and Bleich faces a recovery time of between 10 and 12 months.
“He’ll be back,’’ Thunder manager Tony Franklin said. “Getting the surgery done now is the best thing to do so he can start rehabbing it for next season. There was something wrong there. He didn’t totally admit it, but he wanted to pitch like some guys do. There comes a time when you have to shut it down.’’
Bleich is the second Trenton pitcher this season to admit pitching hurt, only to suffer a season-ending injury.
Christian Garcia took the ball for the April 8 opener one day after insisting he was healthy after undergoing elbow surgery last June.
Garcia’s comeback lasted all of 69 pitches.
A second Tommy John ligament replacement surgery since 2007 was performed on Garcia’s right elbow in April, leaving the Yankees little choice but to release their third-round pick from the 2004 draft.
Since 2008, the Yankees have lost starting pitchers Alan Horne, George Kontos, Bleich, Garcia, Brett Smith and Ian Kennedy for extended periods of time due to injury or, in the case of Kennedy, an aneurysm.
Bleich, 23, was an unimpressive 12-12 with a 4.87 ERA in 36 starts since the Yankees used the compensatory “sandwich’’ pick they received for losing Luis Vizcaino to free agency on the former Stanford University star.
Bleich was 6-8 with a 5.92 ERA and walked 62 in 106 1/3 innings at Double-A. In 2009, Bleich allowed a staggering 84 hits in just 65 innings with the Thunder.