Draft update: More (bad) news on Dylan Cease

A couple of days ago, it was reported here that Dylan Cease would miss this year’s National High School Invitational, which began on Wednesday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina (Cease’s Milton High School lost its opener to The First Academy).

At the time, Cease was hopeful that rest would be all he needed for an elbow that had been bothering him. An initial MRI reading, he reported, showed no tear.

While he still hopes to avoid surgery, there might be a little less cause for optimism. MLB.com has learned that an additional reading of the MRI uncovered a small tear of the UCL. UCL tears often lead to Tommy John surgery.

For now, though Cease is opting to get what is called Platelet-Rich Therapy (PRP), where platelets are injected into the elbow. Will Carroll does a discusses the treatment in this thorough discussion of Matt Harvey’s injury (Harvey waited weeks after being diagnosed before having the surgery, trying to rehab first).

Cease will be out for about six weeks and it seems doubtful he’ll pitch again for Milton. If all goes well, he could potentially be able to throw in pre-draft workouts for scouting directors and general managers as the June Draft approaches.

This approach is not without precedent, though the majority do end up going under the knife. Takashi Saito, says Carroll, is the first Major League player known to have tried PRP therapy for an elbow injury. Zach Greinke also had the injection for his elbow and avoided surgery (Chad Billingsley, on the other hand, had the PRP treatment late in 2012, but ended up going under the knife in April 2013). Adam Wainwright suffered a UCL sprain in the Minors in 2004, managed to avoid TJ surgery until 2011.

Cease should get the injection early next week and then it will be time for everyone, Cease, pro teams, even Vanderbilt University (where Cease is committed), to wait.

Updates to this story will come as news develops.

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