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08/08/08 6:25 PM ET
Gordon may need Tommy John surgery
Right-hander will seek second opinion on ailing right elbow
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Tom Gordon may be preparing for five words no pitcher wants to hear: Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. Two days after pulling himself out of a rehabilitation outing at Class A Clearwater, the Phillies' setup man is scheduled to visit Dr. Lewis Yocum on Monday for a second opinion. In a 48-hour span, the team went from hoping the 40-year-old righty would be a factor in September, to wondering whether he's thrown his final pitch. "Right now we aren't optimistic that he will [pitch this season]," head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan said. "We would really like to have Lew's opinion because he's been familiar with Tom. When we get that opinion on Monday, we can really lay out a solid plan that's more accurate than today." Gordon, who was placed on the disabled list on July 6, was pitching in his second rehab appearance on Wednesday, and pulled himself out. Yocum performed Tommy John surgery on Gordon in 1999. After looking at the results of an MRI performed on Thursday, Sheridan voiced two concerns, one for the ulner collateral ligament and one for the strain of the flexor muscle, the muscle on the inside of his elbow. While Tommy John surgery is a strong possibility, Gordon will gather additional information. "Flash is trying to figure out what's going to be best for him," Sheridan said. "We haven't talked about surgery. No one's even mentioned whether he's having surgery. It's important to get another opinion on how to proceed." Gordon missed two months in 2007 with right shoulder problems and a bout of pneumonia, but returned to play a vital role in Philadelphia's late-season capturing of the National League East. After an Opening Day outing in which he allowed five runs in one-third of an inning, Gordon posted a 3.68 ERA in his next 33 appearances. Without him, manager Charlie Manuel has been using Chad Durbin as his primary right-handed setup reliever, and J.C. Romero.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.