Dunn Headed to Shoulder Surgery After Season-Long Struggle

Mike Dunn's return to the active roster on Monday took a u-turn.

Instead of the Rockies announcing that Dunn was coming off the 60-day disabled list following his rehab assignment at Triple-A Albuquerque, the team announced that Dunn would not pitch again this season, and would undergo left shoulder surgery to alleviate the persistent pain in his left shoulder.

The hope is Dunn can be healthy by the start of spring training next year.

"Things didn't go well," Dunn told media members at Coors field Monday. "I had a couple setbacks. After my second outing, I had to get another cortisone injection. And then that didn't hold up either, so we're shutting it down for the year, and the next option's pretty much surgery."

Dunn, 33, made four appearances for Triple-A Albuquerque since Aug. 21. He's pitched 3 2/3 innings over that span, allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits and three walks while striking out four. His last outing was Friday, when he pitched an inning and allowed a run on a hit and a walk and struck out two.

"After my last outing and the pain that I went through, I woke up the next morning, and I was kind of at ease with it," Dunn said. "I tried to push through it, I tried to come back. I went through every option that we possibly could, and then some, by getting that extra cortisone shot at the end. It just didn't hold up, and so now I got to meet with the doctors today and just see what the next steps are and when it's going to be taking place."

The next step is surgery on his AC joint, but the cortisone shot he got a little over a week ago means he must put off the surgery until sometime next week. Nevertheless, the recovery time-line should allow Dunn to go into Spring Training fully healthy.

"It's a six-to-eight-week rehab, so it's nothing crazy," Dunn said. "It would be normal throwing program for me in the offseason. If it was six to eight weeks, I'd start throwing in December, which is my normal time anyways."

Dunn has pitched through pain all year long, starting with Spring Training. His 9.00 ERA in 25 games this season is a career high, roughly double any season ERA but his four-game stint in 2009 when he first came up with the Yankees.

"I tweaked it in the offseason working out, so we've been kind of fighting it off and on trying to keep it at ease," Dunn said. "It just kind of slowly got worse and worse and worse until you can't do any more."

Dunn is a career 33-26 with a 3.87 ERA and four saves in 527 big league games, and before this season he only had two brief stints on the disabled list in his career, including a 2016 forearm strain and back spasms in '17. Dunn was 5-1 with a 4.47 ERA in 68 appearances for the Rockies in '17, his first season in purple pinstripes.

"I've never had to go through anything like this," Dunn said. "I've been blessed in my career to be healthy for 98 percent of it. It's tough. I've never had any surgery of any kind before, so in a sense you can say that's kind of scary. But the statistics behind everything are really high and positive. The recovery is going to be great."

Tracy RingolsbyComment