PITTSBURGH (AP) -Pirates left-hander Zach Duke was told Monday he doesn't have structural damage in his sore pitching elbow, and will seek a second opinion later this week.
Duke was told he has irritation in his ulnar collateral ligament that can be cured by rest. The diagnosis was made after Duke underwent an arthrogram, a procedure in which dye was injected into his elbow by team doctors to reveal any possible damage.
Duke, not wanting to risk there might be a problem that wasn't disclosed in the test, will be examined Friday by Dr. James Andrews, who has performed numerous operations on pitchers.
Piartes manager Jim Tracy was relieved with the news because it means Duke, at least for now, won't need elbow surgery.
him ready to pitch.''
Duke (3-7), the Pirates' opening-day starter, was having a troubled season even before the elbow problem was revealed. He has allowed five runs or more in six of his last eight starts, giving up six runs and 12 hits in four innings of a 9-7 loss to Florida on Thursday.
Duke's 141 hits allowed are easily the most in the majors, a year after he gave up an NL-leading 255 hits while going 10-15. Opposing hitters have a .364 average against him this season, the highest of any starter in the majors.
Since Duke was 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA as a rookie in 2005, he has a 13-22 record and has allowed more hits than any pitcher in the majors.
Duke will be replaced in the starting rotation Tuesday against Milwaukee by right-hander Shane Youman, who was 0-2 in five games last season. Youman, who was 4-6 with 4.70 ERA at Triple-A Indianapolis this season, has not been told if he will make any additional starts.
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