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 PHOENIX (AP) -Milwaukee Brewers left-hander Chris Capuano was told Sunday that he has a torn ligament in his pitching elbow and will probably need Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career.
The 29-year-old Capuano injured his elbow in an exhibition game Monday against Seattle. He had an MRI on Thursday and team physician William Raasch confirmed the diagnosis of a torn ulnar collateral ligament.
``I composed myself mentally for it,'' Capuano said. ``It's very daunting to consider going through a rehab considering I just rehabbed all winter, trying to get my (right) shoulder strong (after labrum surgery).
``We're weighing our options and trying to figure out the likelihood if I rehab it, what are the chances of coming back and performing at this level. If the chances are 25 percent or less than 25 percent, there's no doubt I can come back from surgery to about 100 percent. It's just going to take more time, about a year or so,'' he said.
Capuano will get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., in the next couple of days. Andrews performed Capuano's first elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2002, when he was pitching in Arizona's farm system.
It took Capuano 11 months to come back from that first Tommy John surgery. He was acquired by the Brewers as part of the Richie Sexson trade in December 2003.
Capuano won 18 games in 2005 and made the National League All-Star team in 2006. He bolted to a 5-0 record last season but lost his last 12 decisions and pitched in 18 consecutive losing games by the team before being moved to the bullpen.
Capuano is the second candidate for the Brewers' starting rotation to get injured since the start of camp. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo had arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee and is expected back some time in April.
``This is why you have seven or eight (candidates) instead of five,'' assistant general manager Gord Ash said.
Brewers manager Ned Yost already announced that right-handers Ben Sheets and Jeff Suppan will be the first two pitchers in the rotation. Right-handers Dave Bush, Claudio Vargas and Carlos Villanueva, and left-hander Manny Parra, are competing for the remaining three spots.
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