Luke Jackson Diagnosed With Damaged UCL
The Braves received disheartening news regarding the health of reliever Luke Jackson, per MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (via Twitter). The team announced MRI results that revealed damage to his ulnar collateral ligament, an injury that often results in Tommy John surgery.
Jackson will explore all the options before making a decision, but Tommy John surgery is certainly within the realm of possibility. In that case, Jackson would not be likely to return until sometime during the 2023 season.
The 30-year-old right-hander is coming off a breakout year for the World Champion Braves. Jackson made 71 appearances, logging 63 2/3 innings, and posted a sparkling 1.98 ERA during the regular season. There may have been some bounces in Jackson’s favor, as fielding independent pitching marked his performance at 3.66 runs per nine innings. Regardless, he recorded a career-high 31 holds in 2021.
The Braves invested heavily in their bullpen this offseason, however, and ought to be able to weather the loss of Jackson. Kenley Jansen, Kirby Yates, and Collin McHugh were all added to the bullpen this winter to balance lefties Will Smith, Tyler Matzek, and A.J. Minter as late game options for Atlanta.