Mariners RHP Reitsma to have season-ending surgery, career in jeopardy Print
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Monday, 30 July 2007 15:23
MLB Headline News

 SEATTLE (AP) -Seattle Mariners reliever Chris Reitsma said he will have surgery on Thursday to relieve pain in his arthritic right pitching elbow, ending his season in July for the second consecutive year.
``I'm done,'' a visibly shaken Reitsma said after meeting Monday afternoon with Mariners medical director Dr. Edward Khalfayan. The doctor recommended Reitsma's fifth elbow surgery - and second in just over a year.
When asked if he meant done for the season or done for his career, the 29-year-old who entered last season as the closer for the Atlanta Braves said, ``For the season.''
As for retirement, Reitsma, who had a career high 15 saves in 2005 with the Braves, said: ``Maybe it's just the card I drew and I go on with life. I don't know.
``That's one alternative, but it's pretty hard to get my mind around that right now. ... Basically, I have a 60-year-old's elbow.''
The Mariners placed Reitsma on the 15-day disabled list, but will now be able to free a place on their 40-man roster by moving Reitsma to the 60-day list. Seattle recalled left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith from Triple-A Tacoma.
The Mariners are still trying hard to acquire a proven setup reliever before - or even after - Tuesday's deadline for trading without waivers.
Reitsma was booed off his home field Sunday while allowing four runs and five hits and getting just one out against Oakland. He said he was pitching with pain from essentially bone-on-bone rubbing in an elbow that is missing almost all of its cartilage.
``I've been taking every kind of medicine to calm it down, pain pills,'' Reitsma said. ``I showered 10 to 15 minutes every morning just to get it moving.''
Seattle signed the native of Calgary, Alberta, to a $2.05 million contract for this season to be their primary setup man to closer J.J. Putz. But Reitsma has gone 0-2 with a 7.61 ERA in 26 games. He'd already been on the disabled list twice this season, in May and June.
``I feel really bad that they thought they were bringing in somebody they thought they could count on and I let the team down, I let the organization down,'' Reitsma said.
Not so, said manager John McLaren.
``This guy tried to pitch with some pain, and I respect him a lot for that,'' McLaren said. ``There's probably no one I respect more in that clubhouse than Chris.
``We knew he was hurt. We didn't see the real Chris Reitsma.''
Last July, Reitsma had surgery to cut a rare muscle that had wrapped around a nerve, causing his hand to go numb.
The surgeon who performed the July 18 operation, Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., told Reitsma that the only other person he'd ever seen with that condition was singer Kenny Rogers.
Rowland-Smith, a 24-year-old native of Sydney, Australia, is the first major league player with a hyphenated last name and is in his third stint with the Mariners this season. He appeared in seven games in his second time up. In 25 games with Tacoma, he was 3-4 with one save and a 3.67 ERA.
 

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