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Cleveland Guardians' top pitching prospect Daniel Espino has shoulder surgery, out at least a year

The 22-year-old is rated as one of the best players in minor league baseball but has been plagued by recent arm issues.

NEW YORK — Daniel Espino, Cleveland's top pitching prospect, is expected to be sidelined for at least one year after having right shoulder surgery.

The Guardians said Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles to repair an anterior capsule in the 22-year-old Espino's shoulder. ElAttrache, who is the team physician for the Dodgers and the Rams, expects Espino to be sidelined 12 to 14 months.

The Guardians have high hopes for the hard-throwing Espino, who was recently shut down after experiencing soreness and inflammation as he tried to ramp up his activity. He's been dealing with arm issues for nearly a year.

Credit: Julio Cortez/AP
Former Cleveland Indians second baseman Carlos Baerga, right, watches as Daniel Espino, left, a right-handed pitcher from Georgia Premier Academy in Statesboro, Ga., speaks to Indians personnel over the phone after they selected Espino No. 24 in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft, Monday, June 3, 2019, in Secaucus, N.J.

Espino was drafted in the first round in 2019 and quickly climbed in Cleveland's system. He struck out 152 in just 91 2/3 innings in 2021.

He only pitched 18 1/3 innings last year at Double-A Akron before being shut down and diagnosed with tendinitis.

Espino, currently ranked as the 14th-best prospect in all of baseball, was considered to be the best of a stellar group of young Guardians pitchers before his arm issues. Rookies Logan Allen and Tanner Bibee have had impressive outings for Cleveland already this season, and Gavin Williams is expected to join the defending AL Central champions at some point in 2023.


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