Rondon, one of the top pitching prospects in the Tribe's farm system, had Tommy John surgery performed on his right elbow on Wednesday. Dr. James Andrews performed the procedure in Birmingham, Ala., after Rondon had a setback in his recovery from an elbow strain.
"It's not good, because he was one of the guys we were counting on for pitching depth down the road," manager Manny Acta said. "If he didn't lose this year of development, we were probably going to take a look at him in September. But he lost this year -- and he's probably going to lose another one."
Rondon, 22, injured the elbow early in the season and has been out since mid-May. He was attempting to rehab the injury at the Indians' facility in Goodyear, Ariz.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Rondon was 1-3 with an 8.53 ERA in seven starts for Triple-A Columbus this season. The Venezuela native is 33-33 with a 4.20 ERA in 99 career Minor League appearances.
A member of the World Team roster at the 2008 Futures Game, Rondon was the organization's Minor League pitcher of the year in '09 -- which he split between Double-A Akron and Columbus. He had a mid-90s fastball with movement and control, but the Indians hoped he would finish off his secondary pitches this year.
"Tommy John surgery is not what it used to be," Acta noted. "Every year, guys come back who had it the year before -- and a lot of times they come back stronger. But you feel bad for the kid."