Willson Contreras (L) and Ethan Roberts.

There’s some bad news for fans of the Chicago Cubs. Ethan Roberts, the 24-year-old reliever who made a MLB Opening Day roster for the first time this season, has been battling a shoulder injury since late April, and has been shut down since early May. Roberts (seen above with catcher Willson Contreras after an April 9 victory) made his first rehab start for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs Sunday, but left in pain.  It’s now come out that he’ll need season-ending Tommy John surgery, with Cubs’ manager David Ross discussing that Thursday:

Here’s more on that and the impact for the fanbase from Brett Taylor of Bleacher Nation:

Crushing. Just crushing news. Not only because of the need for surgery and the timeline for recovery and the impact to the player and the organization, but also because Ethan Roberts was such an impressive story. Remember how meaningful it was when he made the Opening Day roster? I’m as emotional now as I was then, but for wholly different reasons.

…Roberts, 24, will miss the rest of the season and a good portion of next season, too. Hopefully the surgery goes smoothly, and the rehab goes well. Relievers can sometimes return as soon as 12 months, but I wouldn’t get your expectations up for any time before the second half of 2023.

…One of the biggest breakout relief prospects on the farm last year, Ethan Roberts was added to the 40-man roster last November. Then, he looked so capable in Spring Training that the Chicago Cubs had him on the Opening Day roster. It wasn’t just a great story, it was a guy with late-inning upside. Nasty slider, and tremendous natural cutting four-seamer.

Our thoughts go out to Roberts as he works through this surgery and rehab process.

[Bleacher Nation; image from Quinn Harris/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.