Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Kyle Drabek could be facing surgery on his right elbow after being put on the 15-day disabled list on Friday.
An MRI showed that Drabek had a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow and he will see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham. Ala., on Monday to confirm the diagnosis.
Drabek came of out his start in the fifth inning on Wednesday when he said he felt a popping sensation at the back of the elbow.
In putting Drabek on the DL on Friday, the Blue Jays called up left-hander Brett Cecil from triple-A Las Vegas to start on Sunday against Philadelphia.
“We had MRIs done here that did show a tear of his UCL,” Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said before Friday’s game against Philadelphia. “We’re going to send him to Dr. James Andrews to be 100 per cent sure.”
It would be a second surgery for Drabek, who had Tommy John surgery in 2007 as a minor-leaguer.
“In talking with him a couple of times, he was down,” manager John Farrell said.
“What’s unique about this one is that even when he felt the sensation on the mound, afterwards he had good strength and he has good range of motion in here today with little discomfort at all.
“So the need for a second opinion was there but as a pitcher and what he went through (with the first surgery), it’s natural to assume the worst and that had him dejected.”
Anthopoulos said players who have had the elbow surgery twice in their careers have a good recovery rate, including Blue Jays reliever Jason Frasor.
“I talked to Jason Frasor about it and he had it twice and he’s never been on the DL since,” Anthopoulos said.
Toronto has lost two pitchers from the starting rotation this week. Right-hander Brandon Morrow is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique after coming out of his start on Monday in the first inning.
“It’s always tough,” Anthopoulos said. “You realize it can happen. No one is going to feel sorry for you, we’ve seen injuries across the game. They finally hit us in the middle of June but hopefully we have some guys who come up and do a good job for us.
“There’s no question, you lose two of your starters, it’s not a good thing. You can’t overreact. We’re still going to try and make a run at it.”
Drabek is 4-7 with a 4.67 earned-run average in 13 starts this season.
Cecil began the season with double-A New Hampshire where he was 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA in nine starts. He experienced groin tightness in his third start on April 19 and returned to the Fisher Cats rotation on May 9.
He pitched 6 2/3 innings to get the win for triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday, allowing 11 hits and three runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Cecil was sent to the minors at the end of spring training.
“I think he’s in a great place right now,” Anthopoulos said about his progress this season “He understood going down that he had to get himself right and it sounds as though he did get himself right.”
Cecil has picked up velocity on his fastball during his minor-league stint and it’s now over what it was in spring training.
“I think in spring training it wasn’t velocity as much as command,” Anthopoulos said. “He wasn’t commanding the ball the way he has in the past. He’s always got a plus change-up, he throws strikes, that’s one thing he’s always done. When he’s not throwing strikes he isn’t the same guy.”