Tigers' Miner elects Tommy John surgery

Tigers' Miner elects Tommy John surgery

SEATTLE -- Tigers reliever Zach Miner will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery to reconstruct the ulnar colateral ligament in his right elbow, ending speculation that he might try to rehab through it.

The Tigers announced the news Wednesday after Miner consulted with noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum, who will perform the surgery Friday in Los Angeles.

Miner was diagnosed two weeks ago with a partial ligament tear after dealing with elbow problems since the middle of Spring Training. The question he faced with a partial tear was whether to try to rehab and pitch through it by strengthening the surrounding muscles or to undergo surgery now.

A typical rehab process takes the better part of a year, usually 9-12 months, before the pitcher is throwing in games again. With that in mind, Miner had to think about next season as much as this one. In the end, he opted for the surgery, ending what has been a frustating few months for him.

Miner came into the season primed for a major role in Detroit's bullpen after doing everything from spot starting to long relief to occasional setup duty last year. He went 7-5 with a 4.29 ERA in 2009, but had the bulk of his success as a reliever.

Miner came into camp healthy, but the 27-year-old was shut down from pitching after five outings with what was originally believed to be tendinitis in his elbow. He opened the season on the disabled list but was expected to be back in Detroit quickly.

A slow recovery process to get the pain out of his elbow soon changed those plans. Miner returned to Detroit to let doctors re-examine his elbow with another set of tests once his pain returned during an extended spring training appearance.