PITTSBURGH (AP) -Left-hander Zach Duke won't throw for a couple of weeks as he waits for his aching left elbow to calm down, and his return to the Pirates' rotation is still uncertain.
After tests conducted by the Pirates revealed irritation in his ulnar collateral ligament, Duke sought a second opinion Friday from orthopedist James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Andrews' findings were nearly the same as those by the Pirates' doctors, manager Jim Tracy said Friday.
``There will be a couple-of-weeks period where he won't be involved in any kind of throwing,'' Tracy said, adding that Duke will begin to throw when he no longer feels pain.
``We'll crank him back up and, hopefully, get him back pitching again.''
Rather than stay with the Pirates for his rest and rehabilitation, Duke was sent Friday to the team's spring training complex in Bradenton, Fla.
The initial diagnosis was made Monday after Duke underwent an arthrogram, a procedure in which dye was injected into his elbow to reveal any possible structural damage in the elbow.
Duke (3-7), the Pirates' opening day starter, is struggling for the second season in a row. He has yielded five runs or more in six of his last eight starts, including six runs and 12 hits in four innings of a 9-7 loss to Florida on June 28.
Opposing hitters have a .364 average this season, the highest of any starter in the majors. Since the left-hander 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 - 396 hits in 308 2-3 innings. He has permitted 141 hits in 93 1-3 innings this season.
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