By JIMMY GOLEN AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) _ Red Sox reliever Carson Smith had season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Tuesday, four days after an MRI revealed a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said before Boston’s game against the Colorado Rockies that Smith will need 11 to 14 months to recover. The procedure was performed by Dr. David Altchek in New York.
“You feel for the guy,” manager John Farrell said. “`Tommy John’ _ that bell rings loud. Certainly the advances in the procedure are there, but he’s got a long road ahead of him.”
Dombrowski said Smith’s injury is less damaging to the team because it had already spent most of the year without him. Smith, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Seattle, has retired a total of eight batters over three games with the Red Sox this season.
“We’ve been able to distribute the workload evenly,” Farrell said.
Although Smith had been expected to provide late-inning depth for a bullpen that was one of the worst in baseball last year, Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa have settled into consistent roles _ for now. Matt Barnes and Heath Hembree are extra arms, along with left-handers Robbie Ross and Tommy Layne.
“We’ve got the ninth, eighth and seventh pretty well set,” Dombrowski said.
Although Smith has an unusual delivery, Dombrowski said it was not believed to be a factor in the injury.
“I remember when we traded for Max Scherzer, they said the same thing,” the former Detroit Tigers general manager said, adding that Smith’s medical reports gave no indication of a looming breakdown. “There’s always something in there but, to me, nothing to prevent the trade at that point.”
Smith, 26, went 2.31 ERA with 13 saves and 92 strikeouts in 70 innings for the Mariners last season. But he started the season on the 15-day disabled list with a strained flexor muscle in his right forearm and then went back on the 15-day disabled list last week with right elbow soreness.
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