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03/20/09 7:26 PM ET

Worrell's season over before it begins

Padres reliever requires Tommy John elbow surgery

MESA, Ariz. -- Relief pitcher Mark Worrell, a high-profile offseason acquisition by the Padres, will need elbow-ligament surgery and miss the entire season.

San Diego manager Bud Black confirmed Worrell's disappointing diagnosis Friday morning.

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"Our fears were confirmed when the elbow was examined. It didn't look good," Black said. "He hadn't had any pain in the elbow. It just came on late."

Worrell, 26, has left camp to return to San Diego, where he is to undergo the Tommy John procedure on Wednesday.

The right-hander spent most of the 2008 season putting up glaring numbers for St. Louis' Triple-A Memphis club. He had a 2.15 ERA in 53 appearances prior to making his brief Major League debut with the Cardinals.

"He's a pitcher we thought highly of. We wanted to give him a god look," Black said. "Now we have to move on."

The Padres acquired him on Dec. 4 for shortstop Khalil Greene. The Cardinals do owe the Padres another player in the deal, to be identified by April 1.

Worrell's misfortune makes that transaction seem even more risky. He was acquired for the Padres' five-year regular shortstop, Khalil Greene.

Greene's job has gone to Luis Rodriguez, who is 5-for-21 (.238) in 10 exhibitions. Greene is batting .395 in the Grapefruit League, and is second on the Cardinals with 12 RBIs.

"You just never know," said GM Kevin Towers. "We had good reports on Worrell. It's part of the game, unfortunately. But we had to move some salary and were able to do that with Greene."

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