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O's closer Ray expected to miss '08 season after having Tommy John surgery

8/17/2007 - MLB Chris Ray Baltimore Orioles + more

TORONTO -- Baltimore Orioles closer Chris Ray is expected to
miss the entire 2008 season after having major surgery on his right
elbow.

Ray underwent the Tommy John procedure on Thursday, the team
announced before Friday night's game in Toronto.

"Right now, I think we have to assume he won't be around for
2008," Orioles president Andy MacPhail said. "We will be
conservative."

Ray was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 21 with a
sprained right elbow. After a period of rest, he resumed throwing
this week at the Orioles' minor league complex in Sarasota, Fla.,
but still felt sore.

A bone spur was judged to be the cause of lingering pain. During
surgery to remove it, Dr. James Andrews discovered damage to the
ulnar collateral ligament and repaired that as well.

MacPhail said Andrews spoke with Ray prior to the surgery and
received permission to repair any other damage.

"Everybody thought that was a good idea," MacPhail said.

Ray saved 33 games in 2006. The 25-year-old reliever was 5-6
with 16 saves and a 4.43 ERA in 43 appearances this year.

"You lose a pitcher of his caliber and it's a difficult thing
to replace," MacPhail said.

MacPhail said he expects Ray to return in good shape.

"These elbow surgeries today, it's rare when someone doesn't
come back," he said. "To me, it's not nearly as risky."

Manager Dave Trembley said Ray's injury could be the result of a
harsh delivery.

"It could lead to that kind of problem because his arm action
is so violent," Trembley said. "We would hope that it could have
been avoided but I think there's some correlation."

Trembley said right-hander Danys Baez will take over the
closer's role.

"I don't think there's anybody else," Trembley said.

Baez is 0-5 with a 6.02 ERA in 43 games with one save in two
opportunities this season. The 29-year-old has 112 career saves. He
saved 41 games for Tampa Bay in 2005.