Top Prospect Brennen Davis Underwent Back Surgery Thursday, Full Recovery Expected

According to a well-sourced report from Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, Brennen Davis underwent surgery Thursday to alleviate leg pain and sciatica-like symptoms being caused by a vascular formation that had been pressing on a nerve. There were no disc problems or structural issues and the Cubs believe Davis will have a full recovery with no long-term issues, but they do not yet have a schedule for his return.

The organization’s top prospect has been on the shelf since May 3 with what had been described as low back tightness, so it’s good that they were proactive in getting this taken care of within a month. While not similar in terms of the actual maladies, trouble diagnosing stress reactions in the elbows of Yu Darvish and Brandon Morrow effectively ruined their 2018 seasons.

From the way Sharma described it, Davis’s surgical procedure was exploratory in nature and was performed after multiple MRIs were fruitless in diagnosing the issue. Kudos to the Cubs for either learning from past mistakes or simply being more aggressively proactive in seeking an actual cause rather than shrugging and hoping this particular mystery ailment would just go away with time and rest.

Now that the surgery is done, however, time and rest are what Davis needs most. Though a return this year has not been ruled out, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be able to make it back before September. Even if he’s physically able to resume baseball activities earlier than that, he’ll have to ramp up after three or more months off.

It’s also possible that Davis could get a little run in the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost time and wash away the funk of hitting .195/286/.299 with a strikeout rate north of 34% in the early going this season. He’d be facing strong competition and would have a chance to accumulate much-needed plate appearances as he preps for what should be a 2023 MLB debut.

We’ll have more on this story as it develops.

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