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OC Register: Angels’ Keynan Middleton to undergo Tommy John surgery

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ANAHEIM — Keynan Middleton sought a second opinion for his elbow injury, but it didn’t bring any better news.

Middleton said on Thursday that he has decided to undergo Tommy John surgery, which will have him out for the rest of this season and perhaps all of the 2019 season too. The normal rehab time is 12 to 18 months.

“It’s really unfortunate the situation I’m in,” Middleton said. “Our team is competing this year. It just (stinks) not being able to contribute the rest of the season.”

Middleton, 24, was placed on the disabled list in late April with what he and the team described as a minor case of elbow inflammation. He came back last week and pitched in three games. On Sunday, he felt something on his ninth pitch, in which he induced a groundout.

“I threw a changeup and when it left my hand I knew something was wrong,” Middleton said.

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He stayed in the game for one more pitch. It was a fastball that was 88 mph after his previous fastball had been 96 mph. Catcher Martín Maldonado noticed the decrease and immediately called for the trainer. Middleton left the game without even trying to throw again.

Middleton, who had worked his way into the team’s closer role before getting hurt, said he had no regrets about coming off the disabled list too soon.

“It all happened how it happened,” he said. “I want to be on the field as much as I can. I was feeling well enough to throw, so I came back and that’s what I did. Unfortunately, this was the result.”

An MRI on Monday showed the damaged ulnar collateral ligament. He traveled to Cincinnati to meet with Dr. Timothy Kremchek for a second opinion. Surgery was the recommendation, although other Angels pitchers have recently attempted stem-cell therapy first.

“We talked about the options and decided this was best for me,” Middleton said.

Middleton will be the fifth Angels pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery since August 2014, following Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney, Nick Tropeano and JC Ramírez. Garrett Richards also had a damaged UCL, but he successfully underwent stem-cell therapy.

“Unfortunately it’s a common injury in our sport,” Middleton said. “It happens all the time. I’ll come back from it. I’ll work hard and hopefully, I’ll come back even stronger. That’s what I’m expecting from myself.”

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