Campusano to undergo elbow surgery

Campusano to undergo elbow surgery

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers left-handed reliever Edward Campusano will undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on Tuesday, thus ending his 2007 season before it began.

Campusano was examined on Monday by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews after initial tests on his elbow last week were inconclusive. The follow-up exam showed a partial ligament tear, according to Campusano's agent, Bill Rego.

Dr. Andrews will perform the procedure in Birmingham, Ala., then Campusano will report back to Lakeland for rehabilitation. Though there's no set timetable for a return, a typical recovery time would put him back on the mound sometime early next year. In any scenario, it ends his quest to make the jump from Double-A ball to the bullpen of the defending American League champions this year.

The Tigers, in their search for lefty relief help, paid cash for the Brewers to select Campusano for them from the Cubs farm system in the Rule 5 Draft. The 24-year-old was named the Midwest League's Reliever of the Year by Baseball America last season after recording 21 saves for low Class A Peoria. He ended the year at Double-A West Tenn, where he posted a 1.75 ERA and four saves in 18 games.

Campusano made an early impression on Tigers manager Jim Leyland in camp workouts, then pitched five scoreless innings over his first three outings this spring, giving him what looked like a shot at making the roster as a second lefty reliever. However, while he showed a better changeup than Leyland and coaches expected, he wasn't throwing as hard as reports from last year.

In hindsight, he might've been trying to pitch through his elbow discomfort. After giving up three runs in an inning of work on March 16 against the Phillies, Campusano had to come out of a split-squad game against the Braves two days later.

Under Rule 5 Draft terms, a drafted player must spend the entire season on his new club's 25-man roster or else be offered back to his old team for $25,000. In case of injury, if the player spends more than half the season on the disabled list, he can remain on the new club, but goes into the next season with the same restrictions. In other words, the Tigers can put him on the DL and treat him as a Rule 5 pick for next year.

It's the third elbow problem in as many years for Campusano, who missed the final couple of weeks of last season with a left elbow strain after missing half of the 2005 season with inflammation. The hope is that, with surgery at a relatively young age, he'll be able to bounce back relatively easily.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.