Ortiz to have more tests on elbow before surgery decision
SAN FRANCISCO -- Russ Ortiz has a torn tendon in his throwing elbow that likely will sideline San Francisco's right-hander for the remainder of the season.
Ortiz was placed on the disabled list Tuesday for the third time this year and had already missed 73 games because of injuries to his pitching arm before his latest setback. He was scheduled to be examined by team orthopedist Ken Akizuki later Tuesday and possibly another doctor before deciding whether to undergo surgery to repair what athletic trainer Dave Groeschner described as a "significant tear" on the inside of his elbow.
Ortiz left his start Monday at Florida in the fifth inning because of a strained elbow. He had an MRI exam and X-rays Tuesday.
"I don't want to rule him out just yet," Groeschner said. "I'm always concerned when a pitcher has an elbow injury."
Groeschner said there hasn't been any evidence that the 33-year-old Ortiz is doing something mechanically that has made him more prone to arm injuries, which he hadn't dealt with before in his 10-year big league career.
"He's pitched a long time," Groeschner said. "These things happen to guys who pitch. He's in his 30s."
Ortiz returned to the Giants for a second stint this season, beginning the year as the club's fifth starter after working hard during winter ball to remake himself after a bad year with Arizona and Baltimore. He had last pitched for San Francisco in the 2002 World Series, when the Giants lost in seven games to the Angels.
He isn't ready to guess what his situation will be in 2008. For now, he is focused on getting fully healthy again -- however long that might take.
Ortiz was on the disabled list from May 2-20 because of a nerve problem in his elbow, then again from June 7 to Aug. 9 due to a right forearm strain.
"Every issue I've had has been different," he said. "I thought I was on my way. I felt good after the Atlanta start coming into this [last] start. Yesterday I went out for the fifth and I could barely break a pane of glass."
In addition, right-handed reliever Randy Messenger was scheduled for surgery Wednesday on his broken left hand. He will have a screw inserted near the base of his thumb. The pitcher said he would have needed a full-arm cast had he not opted for surgery.
Messenger, who underwent an MRI and CT scan Tuesday, should be able to recover more quickly after the procedure, perhaps resuming throwing after about a week of rest.
"We don't want to rush him back," Groeschner said.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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