|Otsuka likely won't pitch again in '07 even after third doctor finds no elbow damage|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 23 August 2007 15:22|
General manager Jon Daniels said Thursday night that Otsuka would be shut down for up to three weeks before the right-hander tries to throw again.
``If he can get through that, then he'll just rest over the winter. If not, surgery is a possibility,'' Daniels said. ``The reality is he probably won't pitch again this year.''
Otsuka hasn't pitched since July 1, which changed the team's plan to return him to the closer role after it traded Eric Gagne to the Boston Red Sox on July 31. C.J. Wilson has become the primary closer.
Before the Rangers' game against AL wild-card leader Seattle, Otsuka said through a translator that he wants to be pitching but his elbow still hurts.
Otsuka was examined Wednesday by noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, who confirmed the earlier diagnosis of elbow inflammation by Rangers team doctor Keith Meister and Los Angeles Angels physician Lewis Yocum.
``Where he has the discomfort is not over the ligament,'' Daniels said. ``Nothing's really changed from the original diagnosis when he saw Keith in July.''
The Rangers gave Otsuka an extended rest through the All-Star break before finally putting him on the disabled list July 19. They were still hopeful of his return when they traded Gagne.
Otsuka is 2-1 with a 2.51 ERA and four saves in 34 appearances this season. He had 32 saves last year but returned to a setup role after the Rangers acquired Gagne during the offseason.
The 35-year-old Otsuka is eligible for salary arbitration after this season, but the Rangers control him through 2009. He came to Texas in a six-player deal before last season that sent right-hander Chris Young to San Diego.
Daniels said it was too early to determine how the setback will affect what the Rangers do with Otsuka in the offseason.
``That is something we'll have to consider depending on what happens between now and then,'' Daniels said.