Dodgers' Brazoban out for season

Dodgers' Brazoban out for season

LOS ANGELES -- Reliever Yhency Brazoban will require Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and be lost for the season, the Dodgers learned Friday.

Brazoban told the club he felt the elbow go on a pitch to Jeromy Burnitz during his one-inning outing Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Brazoban retired Burnitz on a foul pop for the second out, and ended the inning by inducing a popup from Craig Wilson. He underwent an MRI exam on Friday that revealed a torn ligament.

"That was the worst news," said Brazoban, speaking through an interpreter in the clubhouse prior to Friday night's game with San Francisco. "But I have to accept it and go through with it. It's difficult to accept because I've never had surgery before. But it's the best thing."

Although Brazoban said the injury was suffered Wednesday, he had been erratic in four earlier appearances, amassing a 5.40 ERA, and had been undergoing pregame heat therapy on his entire arm, as do many pitchers.

Neither Brazoban nor manager Grady Little has learned of a timeline for the surgery.

Brazoban was shelved for two weeks during Spring Training with shoulder tenderness. That came after he made 27 appearances during the Dominican Winter League. Adding in his 74 appearances during the 2005 Major League season, Brazoban pitched in 101 games last year, only his third full season as a pitcher after beginning his career as an outfielder.

Brazoban's loss is another blow to a bullpen that learned a week ago it would be without closer Eric Gagne for about two months with surgery to remove a nerve near his elbow.

"Any time you lose a player you're counting on, it's a setback," Little said. "Only time will tell the effect it will have on our ballclub."

Asked whether the absence of two power pitchers from his bullpen would intensify the loss, Little said. "It's going to enable other guys to shoulder an additional load. They'll know we'll have one less guy down there. But they know in the long run it's going to mean more work for them.

"I'm not concerned with how hard they throw. We think guys will step up."

Brazoban was acquired with Jeff Weaver from the Yankees in the Kevin Brown trade in December 2003. He set a franchise rookie record with 21 saves as the substitute closer after Gagne was injured last season.

To replace Brazoban on the roster, the Dodgers activated outfielder Kenny Lofton from the 15-day disabled list, reducing the pitching staff from 12 to 11.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Ted Brock is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.