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Max Cioffi Out for Season with Torn UCL

by | Apr 14, 2021 | Baseball | 0 comments

Tuesday evening, Ole Miss baseball announced that senior RHP Max Cioffi suffered a torn UCL, ending his 2021 season.

Ole Miss baseball received some terrible news Tuesday as an MRI showed that senior relief pitcher Max Cioffi has a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). The UCL connects the inside of your upper arm (humerus) to the inside of your forearm (ulna) and helps support and stabilize your arm. The injury unfortunately ends his 2021 season.


Cioffi’s Appearances

Cioffi, who had surgery to clean up the meniscus in his knee earlier this season, made two appearances out of the bullpen this season for the Rebels, one on opening weekend at the State Farm Showdown vs. Texas Tech and the other against North Alabama on April 5th.

Against Tech on February 21st, Cioffi went 1.2 innings, allowed 1 hit, 1 run, walked 4, and struck out 3. Due to injury, he didn’t pitch again until April 5th, when he allowed 3 hits, 1 run, and struck out 1 against North Alabama.

The loss of Cioffi is a tough one to stomach, as he was an arm that showed much promise for the Rebels. As a freshman in 2018, he registered a 1.96 ERA in 14 appearances, the lowest of any Rebel pitcher, and yielded just a .175 BA to hitters.

In 2020, he was off to a hot start, making 6 appearances before COVID-19 ended the season. He tallied 8 IP, 12 strikeouts, allowed just 3 hits, and boasted a 0.00 ERA.

What Does This Mean?

For Cioffi, this means he could be facing what is known as “Tommy John” surgery. While we do not know for sure what Cioffi’s specific prognosis, we can tell you the goal of Tommy John surgery is to stabilize the elbow, reduce or eliminate pain and restore stability and range of motion.

For the Rebels, this is obviously not what they wanted to hear.

Max Cioffi is out for the remainder of the 2021 season with a torn UCL. (Photo credit: Josh McCoy)

Cioffi had contributed quality innings throughout his career in all stages of the game. Despite only pitching twice this season as he worked to recover from injury, he was an arm that the Rebel bullpen was counting on for depth purposes. Furthermore, his is an arm that hopefully was going to calm down a struggling relief unit. As it stands right now, the Rebels have approximately five or six really solid options out of the bullpen, as there are seven primary relievers with ERAs over 5.0.

As we’ve seen throughout the beginning of SEC play, head coach Mike Bianco has turned mainly to Wes Burton, Cody Adcock, Drew McDaniel, Taylor Broadway, Jackson Kimbrell, Josh Mallitz, and Austin Miller out of the bullpen.

Outside of that group, things get a tad tenuous.

However, the emergence of freshman Jack Dougherty in last night’s 13-1 win over Austin Peay was exactly what the Rebels had hoped to see. In two innings of relief work, Dougherty struck out five, allowing no hits or walks.

He’s a new face in the bullpen, as the original plan for Dougherty was a redshirt year; however, with the Cioffi news, I’m imagining that Coach Bianco feels the team needs the help.

Very sad news for Cioffi — and the Rebels — and we wish Max a speedy recovery!

(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)

Jake Evans
Jake Evans

Jake, a 2021 graduate of Ole Miss with a degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications, is from Nashville, TN. Along with his work at The Rebel Walk, Jake hosts “The Flagship Football Show” podcast. He’s also a huge fan of the Rebels, Titans, Predators, and Braves.

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