After seeking a third opinion on his left elbow, sophomore southpaw Jake Latz will undergo surgery and miss four to six months, LSU coach Paul Mainieri said after Thursday’s Purple-Gold World Series game.
Latz suffered a setback with the stress reaction in his 11th fall inning, prompting another MRI, which showed something more similar to a stress fracture. Doctors in Baton Rouge and Chicago recommended surgery, but Latz sought a third opinion from a physician in Detroit, who also recommended he have surgery.
The surgery, which will take place in Baton Rouge, will be scheduled next week. As Mainieri described it on Tuesday, the surgery would insert a screw into the bone where the stress fracture is located with about a four-to-six month rehab, leaving a glimmer of hope that Latz could return for the Tigers at the end of the spring.
Latz missed all of last season with the same injury – a stress reaction in his left elbow. He tried to rehab the injury in February and March but was ultimately shut down after suffering setbacks then.
An 11th round selection in the 2014 MLB Draft, Latz was the third-highest drafted high school prospect not to sign a pro contract, instead choosing to attend LSU – where he has yet to throw a meaningful pitch.
Latz’s absence means the Tigers now have just three healthy left-handed pitchers — Jared Poche, Hunter Devall and John Valek. A fourth, Nick Bush, is recovering from offseason surgery.
“We’ll be OK,” Mainieri said Monday. “I feel like our staff is going to be deeper than it was last year, but when we recruited Jake Latz, he was really one of the shining guys in our recruiting class, one of the guys we felt had a chance to be extremely special. If he’s going to be out for a prolonged period of time, it would obviously be disappointing to us, but it’s not insurmountable to our team. I really feel worse for Jake.”