The 2013 season has been lost for Danny Hultzen and the Seattle Mariners.
On Tuesday afternoon at Safeco Field, general manager Jack Zdruriencik announced that their prized pitching prospect will head to Birmingham, Ala., to see noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his ailing throwing shoulder.
Hultzen was shut down on two separate occasions this season because of shoulder discomfort. Both times it was labeled as a rotator cuff strain and the issue was supposedly caused by faulty pitching mechanics. The Mariners re-examined his mechanics and made changes to them during his most recent recovery and throwing program. The issue was thought to be fixed. Hultzen worked his way back to pitching off the mound again by the end of the season, and was slated to pitch in the Arizona Fall League to make up for some of the lost innings from this season.
That plan was scratched after Hultzen felt discomfort in the shoulder while throwing down in the Arizona instructional league.
Hultzen was examined by Mariners' team physician Dr. Edward Khalfayan.
"Ed saw him and quite frankly he doesn't like what he sees," Zduriencik said. "He saw some damage that he was unhappy with. It's not the rotator cuff. It's the tendon area, labrum area."
Hultzen and his representation to receive a second opinion, which Dr. Khalfayan was also in favor of. The Mariners will wait to hear from Andrew's exam and go from there.
"Until we get the second opinion and the doctors put their heads together, we don't know exactly what this is," Zduriencik said.
Hultzen was selected with the second overall pick of the 2011 draft out of the University of Virginia. He started six games and made one two-inning relief appearance for the Tacoma Rainiers this season, posting a 4-1 record with a 2.05 ERA. He struck out 34 batters in 30 2/3 innings pitched. Four of the starts came in April before the first bout of shoulder pain.