Gagne likely headed back to DL

Gagne likely headed back to disabled list

KANSAS CITY -- Dodgers' closer Eric Gagne is in all likelihood headed back to the disabled list after an MRI in Kansas City revealed that he has another sprain of the right elbow.

"It's the same situation he was dealing with in Spring Training," manager Jim Tracy said. "He said he felt burning there."

An MRI performed by Dr. Steven Joyce, the Royals team physician, revealed that Gagne has a second-degree sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament.

Gagne, who sprained his right elbow in his final spring outing and spent the first 35 games on the disabled list, was 8-for-8 in save opportunities. But his velocity had been down.

"I was 100 percent," Gagne said. "I was fine the whole time. It happens sometimes on one or two pitches. That's what happens with ligaments. You can't ever predict it. You feel great one day and the next day you can blow it out."

Tracy said Gagne on Sunday had the best fastball he has seen from his premier closer since Gagne was activated. But after that outing against Minnesota, Gagne complained of the burning sensation in his elbow.

Tracy said Gagne will "more than likely" land on the disabled list. Yhency Brazoban will again step into the closer's role in Gagne's absence.

Tracy said the results of Gagne's MRI are being sent back to Dr. Frank Jobe in Los Angeles.

Despite not having the velocity he displayed in past seasons, Gagne had given up only two runs in 13 innings while striking out 22 and walking three. After giving up home runs to the first two batters he faced in his initial appearance, Gagne had been highly effective even without his best heater.

Tracy declined to speculate on how long the latest injury might sideline Gagne.

"I have no idea what this could lead to," Tracy said. "He does have some swelling."

Tracy expressed confidence that Brazoban can handle the closer's role while Gagne is recuperating.

"That kid was pretty good in the early stages of the season," Tracy said. "You'll see a lot of the same faces in the latter part of the game."

Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.