Baseball: Mundelein ace Borucki will have Tommy John surgery
Mundelein pitcher Ryan Borucki, seen here during his junior season, will have to undergo Tommy John surgery after the season. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 17, 2012 4:09PM
Senior Ryan Borucki, one of the most sought-after pitching prospects in Illinois and staff ace of Mundelein High School’s baseball team, will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair ligament damage in his left throwing arm after the season ends.
According to Mustangs assistant coach Jeff Sweno, Borucki will still play first base and bat the rest of the year despite the injury — but will not pitch.
The 6-foot-4 Borucki, a University of Iowa recruit, was originally told his elbow injury wasn’t serious, but has since learned otherwise.
“When it happened, I thought it was just regular soreness, but it never went away,” Borucki said. “The doctor told me that he didn’t think I should be too worried.”
That was until he had an MRI done on his elbow on April 6. On Monday, his father, Ray Borucki, received a call from the doctor informing him the ligament was torn.
“It was definitely a big shock to me when I found out,” Borucki said. “A lot of things went through my head. But when I found out I could still play first base and hit as long as I’m not in any kind of pain, I almost immediately stopped worrying about it and thinking about it as much.”
In four games, Borucki (3-0) had yet to allow an earned run while surrendering just four hits in 14 2/3 innings. He was being scouted by numerous pro teams, and there was a strong possibility he would have been drafted in the first several rounds of the upcoming MLB draft — and still may be, despite the injury.
“A lot of scouts I talked to said they were confident I was gonna be picked pretty high in the draft,” Borucki said. “I’ve gotten texts from at least 15 of them, including scouts from the Cubs and San Diego Padres, who’ve been very supportive since they found out. They understand it happens.
“It’d be cool to still get drafted, but that’s gonna probably have to be put on the back burner,” he added. “But right now, I’m 99 percent sure I’m just going to go to Iowa, which I’m really excited about. They’ve been been so great to me over there and so understanding. It’s why I picked them over all the other schools.”
Sweno, too, knows Borucki is fortunate to have such a supportive future coach at Iowa in Jack Dahm, who is in his ninth season as skipper of the Hawkeyes.
“It’s unfortunate for him,” Sweno said. “But it is what it is. He’ll probably redshirt his first year at Iowa now, but there’s really no rush to get it done, because he’s gonna have to probably rehab for at least a year. Iowa’s been very understanding, and they want him to enjoy his senior year.”
It’s believed Borucki injured his elbow during a 13-strikeout no-hitter he threw against Cary-Grove on March 29.
“In the fifth inning of that game, it started to hurt him, and I don’t know if it was adrenaline that kept him going, or the fact he had a no-hitter going, but he didn’t say anything at the time,” Sweno said. “That was the last time he pitched.”
Borucki is just one of several standout pitchers on a Mundelein roster that has a remarkable six no-hitters in just 17 games.
On Tuesday, April 10, Jared Mandel improved his record to 4-1, with an ERA just under 1.00, thanks to a 2-0 victory at North Suburban Conference Lake Division rival Lake Zurich.
On Wednesday, Matt Langlie also improved his record to 4-1, after beating Lake Zurich again — this time 8-1 — in the second game of a home-and-home series. He also has a sub 1.00 ERA.
Tommy John surgery, which is named after the former Major League Baseball pitcher who underwent the procedure before anyone else in 1974, involves surgically grafting a tendon from another part of the body, onto the elbow area.
Many major league pitchers have come back from the injury and performed at a high level.