Phillies right-handed pitching prospect Andrew Painter had a tender right elbow and underwent testing on it, manager Rob Thompson told reporters (Scott Lauber) last Friday. Presumably an MRI was involved.
Most expected an update on Saturday, but come Thursday the Phillies hadn't really provided anything concrete.
Thomson: "Still nothing on Andrew (Painter). Still trying to get all of the results together. Once we have it we'll get it to you."— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) March 9, 2023
This seems like an awfully long time for teams to examine results whether in season or during spring training. Most of the time, as alluded to above, the news breaks the following day.
Painter's agent, Scott Boras, also made some comments on Tuesday. Via Coffey:
"I have extensive studies on young pitchers with extreme velocity at young ages," Boras said. "Andrew is aware and understands his development requires great attention and patience so his rare skill extends throughout a long MLB career."
Painter is one of the top prospects in baseball (No. 14 overall), one of the top pitching prospects (No. 3) and the top prospect for the Phillies. CBS Sports prospect expert R.J. Anderson wrote the following on Painter heading into this spring:
Painter, a 6-foot-7 righty, was the Phillies' first-round pick in 2021. He's since rocketed through the system, finishing last season with five starts in Double-A. Overall, he tallied a 1.56 ERA and a 6.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 103 innings. Painter has a broad arsenal that includes an upper-90s fastball that can clear the 100-mph mark, two breaking balls, and a changeup. He's shown good control, too, walking about two batters per nine last season, including just two across 28 frames at Double-A. Painter should make his big-league debut in 2023, perhaps earlier than expected, and may give the National League champions another big-time starting pitcher.
In his five Double-A starts in 2022, Painter had a 2.54 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 37 strikeouts against two walks in 28 1/3 innings. Given that he's only 19 and has just the five starts above Class A, it was incredibly unlikely Painter was going to break camp with the Phillies anyway. The early months of the season were surely to be spent getting more experience against upper-level minor-league players while the Philllies monitored his innings.
Still, you never know. There's always the chance teams surprise us and get aggressive with talented youngsters. Any setback with the elbow is certain to take that chance off the table, though. After this many days without a real update, it's becoming more unlikely that Painter would break camp with the club.
Even without Painter in the mix, the Phillies have a strong rotation to start the season with Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suárez, Taijuan Walker and then someone such as Bailey Falter in the five spot. Should Painter's elbow check out OK here in the near term and he shows progression in the early months of the regular season, he could be summoned to take over that five spot for what is potentially one of the best rotations in baseball.