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DENVER (AP) — In the midst of the best start of his career, Colorado Rockies closer Adam Ottavino is concerned his season might be over.
Ottavino said Monday a recent MRI revealed a partial ulnar collateral ligament tear in his right elbow, which could mean he needs Tommy John surgery. He will visit Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday for an evaluation and could have the operation "right then and there," the pitcher said.
The 29-year-old Ottavino already is preparing for what he thinks is inevitable — surgery.
"If it is that way — I'm expecting it to be— I'll take it head on," Ottavino said. "There's nothing else I can do. I can't go back and un-throw for 29 years. We'll see what happens."
Ottavino went on the disabled list April 27 with right triceps inflammation, soon after he was promoted to closer. Ottavino hasn't given up a run in 10 1-3 innings this season. He has struck out 13.
"I felt like I was in the best spot I've ever been in on the mound," Ottavino said. "In that way, it (stinks). At the same time, if it's going to happen, at least I have a good shot at pitching at some point next year and coming back strong. This is something a lot of people have had to deal with. I'm not alone in this way."
Not by a long shot. New York Mets ace Matt Harvey returned to the mound this season following Tommy John surgery — just as good as ever, too.
That's encouraging to Ottavino.
"I was a lot more scared years ago when I thought I might have to have shoulder surgery, knowing that's pretty much a death sentence," Ottavino said. "Hopefully, I'll be the next to be a success, come back and be myself again."
He's already asking lefty Jorge De La Rosa and fellow reliever Rafael Betancourt for advice on recovery, since both went through Tommy John surgery. De La Rosa had his elbow fixed in 2011, while Betancourt had his procedure in 2013.
"They both said you've just got to work really hard with the rehab and recovery and everything, if that's the road we go down," Ottavino said. "Perfectly willing to do that. Baseball is my love. So, just going to do everything I can."
For now, John Axford remains in the ninth-inning role for the Rockies, with Betancourt backing him up.
"We had an idea that there's something going on in there," manager Walt Weiss said. "He's going to get another opinion. It's tough.
"These are the cards we've been dealt, Adam has been dealt. It's not fair. You wish it were different, but now you get a plan of attack in place and get after it."
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