Danny Hultzen, who was drafted second overall in 2011, will reportedly retire after yet another setback in his recovery from several shoulder injuries.
When the Seattle Mariners selected Danny Hultzen out of the University of Virginia in the first round of the 2011 draft the hope was that he could anchor the M’s rotation for many years. In just over two years in the organization, Hultzen was one step away from beginning to fulfill his immense promise when shoulder injuries derailed his career.
Over 32 starts in to begin his professional career, the young left-hander was outstanding. He posted a 14-8 record with a stellar 2.82 era as he reached Triple-A as a 23-year old. Hultzen began experiencing shoulder issues early in the 2013 season and battled through the season before eventually having surgery in October of that year.
More from Call to the Pen
- Philadelphia Phillies, ready for a stretch run, bomb St. Louis Cardinals
- Philadelphia Phillies: The 4 players on the franchise’s Mount Rushmore
- Boston Red Sox fans should be upset over Mookie Betts’ comment
- Analyzing the Boston Red Sox trade for Dave Henderson and Spike Owen
- 2023 MLB postseason likely to have a strange look without Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals
Hultzen had suffered a trifecta of shoulder injuries every pitcher fears, as he went under the knife for to repair his labrum, rotator cuff and shoulder capsule. In an era where Tommy John surgery is relatively common, recovery from shoulder injuries are far less certain. Hultzen sat out the entire 2014 season as he worked his way back from the surgery. Unfortunately in each of the past two seasons he has experienced set back after set back.
This spring, the Seattle Mariners had hoped that Hultzen could work out of the bullpen, but he was shut down after experiencing shoulder fatigue early in camp. Possibly sensing the end was near, Hultzen remarked, “It’s obviously super-frustrating, because I’ve been doing everything I can. That’s the way I’m looking at it. I know I’m doing everything I can, and whatever happens is going to happen. I’m not going to look back and say I wish I’d done something more, because I know I’m doing everything I can.”
In a sad tale of how injuries can rob a once promising star of the talents, Hultzen has only pitched eight innings of professional baseball since going under the knife in 2013. Earlier this summer, Hutlzen was giving his comeback another try with the Mariners rookie league team in Arizona. His shoulder did not respond well after two one-inning outings prompting the most recent news that he is expecting to formally retire in the near future.
On a positive note, the Mariners have expressed interest in keeping Hultzen on in some type of front office or advisory role. Let’s hope the young man can ease into the next phase of his life, after sacrificing his body for the team over the past five years.