According to a press release, Brandon Cumpton will visit Dr. James Andrews next week after reporting pain in his elbow after his most recent live batting practice at Pirate City. He has already been seen by Pirates doctors. The Pirates will provide another update after Cumpton’s visit with Andrews next week.
Obviously this isn’t a good thing for Cumpton. A visit to Dr. James Andrews never is, and usually results in Tommy John surgery. That’s especially the case when the pitcher is reporting pain in his elbow. So the main concern here is that Cumpton sees a full recovery from whatever it is that is giving him pain.
As for how this impacts the Pirates’ depth, the main impact would come early in the season. Cumpton has been used the last two years as a depth starter for the rotation, and was one of the top options if the Pirates needed a guy early in 2015. The Triple-A rotation was projected to include Cumpton, Nick Kingham, Adrian Sampson, Clayton Richard, and Casey Sadler, with Jameson Taillon factoring into the mix when he returned from Tommy John surgery.
Assuming Cumpton is out, then this opens a spot in the Indianapolis rotation, and means that the early season depth options would be Richard, Sadler, and the loser of the Locke/Worley battle for the fifth starter’s job. As to who could take Cumpton’s spot in Triple-A, that could be any number of guys from the NRI list, and will probably be made known by Spring Training performances and how the Pirates stretch out each guy.