Top Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata, who pitched for the Portland Sea Dogs in 2019, had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the organization announced Wednesday. Joel Page/Staff Photographer

Bryan Mata has undergone Tommy John surgery.

One of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox system had a torn UCL in his right elbow repaired Tuesday in Los Angeles. Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the operation at the Kerlan-Jobe Institute. Boston announced the news in a Wednesday statement.

Mata was shut down during spring training after experiencing soreness in his right triceps. The 21-year-old worked at the alternate site in Pawtucket last summer and was expected to contend for a role in the Triple-A rotation at Worcester in 2021.

Typical timeline for recovery is 12-15 months. Mata will miss all of the 2021 season, any sort of fall work at the instructional league and all of spring training in 2022.

Mata, who turns 22 on May 3, reached Double-A Portland in 2019, making 11 starts for the Sea Dogs as one of the youngest players in the Eastern League. He dominated across 10 starts at Class A Salem to earn a promotion, working to a 1.75 ERA. Mata racked up a combined 111 strikeouts in 105 innings, which both represented career highs.

Mata was placed on Boston’s 40-man roster during the offseason, protecting him from the Rule 5 draft. He’s consistently been a top-10 prospect in the Red Sox system since Baseball America rated him at No. 4 in 2018.

Mata was an international signing from Venezuela in January 2016. He got a bonus of $25,000 and debuted at the club’s academy in the Dominican Republic that summer. Mata stands 6-foot-3 and has steadily added strength to what is considered an ideal pitcher’s frame.

Mata is the second high-profile Red Sox prospect to undergo Tommy John surgery in recent seasons, joining left-hander Jay Groome. The 12th overall pick in the 2016 draft has worked a total of 66 professional innings, and only four of those have come since 2017. Groome was also in the club’s player pool last summer and is among the minor leaguers currently working at JetBlue Park.

Boston remains thin in terms of upper-level pitching in the minor leagues. Tanner Houck has impressed in four starts with the Red Sox and right-hander Connor Seabold was acquired along with Nick Pivetta in an August trade that sent relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to the Phillies. Boston has no other elite pitching options who have worked above the Double-A level.

ALEX CORA IS a fan of Major League Baseball’s relatively new seven-inning doubleheader rule. Because he was suspended for his role in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, Cora had to watch from home as teams navigated the rule change during the abbreviated 2020 season. His first chance to manage a shortened doubleheader was Wednesday afternoon against the Twins.

“Love it. Love the doubleheader, the seven innings, as a fan,” Cora said. “Like (Hall of Fame manager) Tony La Russa used to say, I’ll tell you in five hours to see how it feels. It’s a lot different. I think the urgency of the game is different.”

Early in the 2020 season, MLB instituted the rule change in an effort to combat potential disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and help teams complete their 60-game schedules. Over the winter, the league decided to bring back the rule for 2021, and it looks like it might be here to stay.

With Ron Roenicke managing the Red Sox in 2020, Boston played two doubleheaders – against the Blue Jays on Sept. 4 and against the Phillies on Sept. 8 – and split both.

EDUARD BAZARDO was added as the 27th man on the Boston’s active roster for Wednesday’s doubleheader. Boston promoted him from the alternate training site in Worcester.

Bazardo is a 25-year-old righty from Venezuela. He spent last summer at the Red Sox Dominican Academy, where he put on about 12 pounds in good weight and increased his velocity to 93-97 mph. The righty also has elite spin on his curveball.

“I think throughout the season, this guy, he’ll help us,” Cora said Wednesday. “Good fastball. The best breaking ball. Everybody talks about it in the organization, right? A strike thrower. A strike-throwing machine. He’s not afraid. He attacks the strike zone with good stuff. He impressed a lot of people last year. He impressed me in spring training. For us to accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish, he will be a factor during the season.”


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