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Rangers prospect, No. 3 pick Kumar Rocker needs Tommy John surgery

Texas Rangers pitching prospect Kumar Rocker has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and needs Tommy John surgery, the Rangers announced Tuesday.

The injury is expected to sideline Rocker for the rest of 2023 and part of the 2024 season. Pitchers generally need 12 to 18 months to return from Tommy John surgery.

The Rangers selected Rocker with the No. 3 pick in the 2022 draft. The selection marked the second time Rocker had been drafted, after the New York Mets took him at No. 10 in 2021 out of Vanderbilt. Rocker and the Mets never agreed to terms after his physical reportedly raised issues with his throwing elbow.

Kumar Rocker is slated to undergo Tommy John surgery. (David Durochik/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
Kumar Rocker is slated to undergo Tommy John surgery. (David Durochik/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

The Mets forfeited the selection and were awarded a compensatory pick in 2022 at No. 11. They used the pick to select Georgia Tech catcher Kevin Parada.

Rocker returned to the draft, and the Rangers selected him at No. 3 overall to the surprise of some, considering his elbow concerns. He agreed to terms with the Rangers and made six starts with the High-A Hickory Crawdads, posting a 3.86 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 42 strikeouts and 7 walks in 28 innings.