Miami Marlins standout right-hander Jose Fernandez faces likely surgery after it was discovered that the ulnar collateral ligament of his pitching arm is torn.
An MRI on Monday detected the tear and a subsequent examination by noted specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles confirmed it, CBSSports.com reported Tuesday.
The Tommy John procedure was recommended by ElAttrache. Fernandez was to meet with the team doctor on Tuesday to confirm the diagnosis and treatment.
The Marlins earlier announced that Fernandez sprained the elbow and placed him on the 15-day disabled list, but the tear makes him a candidate for the ligament replacement surgery. If that is the case, he would become the 32nd major league pitcher this year to need the reconstruction procedure.
To take Fernandez's place on the roster, the Marlins recalled left-hander Dan Jennings from Triple-A New Orleans. Jennings is 3-5 with a 2.96 ERA with Miami in 79 relief outings spanning the 2011 to 2013 seasons.
The 21-year-old Fernandez apparently complained of elbow discomfort after his start against the San Diego Padres. He gave up six runs in five innings of a 10-1 loss to the Padres and his pitch velocity clearly dropped during that game.
Fernandez, the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year, has a 4-2 record with a 2.44 ERA and leads the major leagues with 70 strikeouts so far this season. Last year, Fernandez went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA and had 187 strikeouts.
If Fernandez does have the surgery, he can expect a recovery time of 12 to 18 months.
"I think you're always concerned when you're talking about elbows," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "That's something we have to wait to find out. But I think we're always concerned about that with pitchers, especially."