Fifth pick coming back from Tommy John surgery

Fifth pick coming back from Tommy John surgery

The Rangers took another left-handed pitcher in the fifth round of the First-Year Player Draft on Friday, but they will have to wait to see if it's a good pick.

The Rangers drafted left-hander Wes Benjamin out of the University of Kansas, but he underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in mid-April. He had pitched in six games for the Jayhawks before having surgery on April 10. He was 4-0 with a 4.22 ERA as a junior before the injury.

"The biggest thing was Wes looked like he was getting better and better before the surgery," assistant general manager A.J. Preller said. "He had a very good game early on against Stanford. We feel in a year the odds are going to be on our side and he should be back to normal or even better. Also, we're betting on the person and all indications are he is a guy you want to bet on."

The surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews.

"He had a torn ulnar collateral ligament, which was reconstructed with the Tommy John procedure," Andrews said in statement to the school's website. "The procedure went great and we expect a full recovery in nine to 12 months. He will be allowed to start some interval throwing probably around four months post-op. His prognosis is good for a full recovery and he should be an excellent candidate in the next professional baseball Draft."

Benjamin is from St. Charles (Ill.) and was drafted by the Yankees in the 48th round in 2011. He made 15 starts for the Jayhawks as a sophomore and was 4-6 with a 4.40 ERA. He had 66 strikeouts and 33 walks in 88 innings. As a freshman, he was 5-7 with a 3.54 ERA in 15 starts.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 12 p.m. CT.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.