Four years ago today, we learned that our much-heralded, much-anticipated pitching prospect, Eric Hurley, would miss the entire 2009 season to undergo rotator cuff surgery.
We were very upset. There was much discussion about how poorly this boded for the upcoming season.
And yet, things worked out okay for the Rangers, if not for Hurley. While the Rangers' rotation in 2009 was racked with injuries and problems, the team ended up winning 87 games in 2009. 22 year old Tommy Hunter, 22 year old Derek Holland, 23 year old Matt Harrison, and 21 year old Neftali Feliz all ended up seeing significant time, although Holland and Harrison each posted ERAs north of 6. Those four pitchers all contributed significantly to the Rangers getting to two straight World Series.
Hurley, on the other hand, was never the same. He missed all of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, pitched some in 2011, then left the organization as a minor league free agent and signed with Anaheim, posting an ERA near 7 in 100+ innings in their minor league system in 2012.
Hurley was symbolic of the old era, of the time when it seemed like the future of the organization hinged on the arms of one or two minor league pitchers. He came in after the DVD group, of course, and it looked like he might have the brightest future of them all. But he got hurt, as young pitchers so often do, and the dreams of Hurley fronting a Ranger rotation went by the wayside.