Orioles reliever Danys Baez informed club officials yesterday that he has decided to have ligament-transplant surgery to repair the partially torn ligament in his right elbow.
Baez, who started the season as the Orioles' top setup man but struggled mightily after a solid April, still hasn't set a date or chosen a doctor for the surgery, but it will force him to miss next season, joining closer Chris Ray on the sideline. Ray had the same procedure, often called Tommy John surgery, last month and is expected to miss most if not all of next season.
"We feel that's clearly the right course of action with the information that we have," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said about Baez's decision to have the surgery.
MacPhail acknowledged earlier this month that finding bullpen help was one of his main priorities this offseason, and now the Orioles will have to replace their closer and their eighth-inning pitcher to allow Jamie Walker and Chad Bradford to be used primarily in the sixth and seventh innings.
Baez was shut down after his last outing, Sept. 12. He had his elbow examined about 10 days ago by team orthopedist Dr. Andrew Cosgarea, who told him he could try to rehabilitate the injury but recommended that Baez have surgery.
Baez, a 30-year-old right-hander, got a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews last week, and Andrews offered the same opinion Cosgarea did.
Baez, who signed a three-year, $19 million deal with the Orioles this past offseason, went 0-6 with a 6.44 ERA and three saves in 53 appearances.