Wittgren has surgery to remove bone chips

Chen also set to have a consultation for sore left elbow

Wittgren has surgery to remove bone chips

DENVER -- The Marlins took steps to help two ailing pitchers this week with an eye toward the future.

Right-handed reliever Nick Wittgren had surgery Tuesday to remove bone chips from his elbow. Wittgren was 3-1 with a 4.68 ERA in 38 appearances this season. The issue came up for him over the weekend.

"I think he was into his throwing program a little bit, felt a little something, wanted someone to look at it," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "I think it was Monday he went to see Dr. [James] Andrews, and they were going to decide from there. Obviously he had the surgery."

The timing of the discovery and surgery works in Wittgren's favor, as it comes at the very end of the regular season, giving him time to recover for next season. Wittgren last appeared in a game on July 26.

"[We] expect him to have him pretty much on a full throwing program before Spring Training," Mattingly said. "I expect him to be 100 percent in Spring Training,"

The Marlins also sent left-hander Wei-Yin Chen for a consultation with Los Angeles orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday after the reliever experienced elbow soreness after his last appearance Friday.

Chen started the season in the rotation, and made five starts before going on the disabled list May 5. He has made four relief appearances since returning to the roster on Sept. 4, allowing an earned run in six innings.

"I really didn't count on him being back this year," Mattingly said of Chen. "And I'm not really sure if he's going to be able to get back next year."

Chen's elbow soreness has been a recurring issue, and Mattingly is treating it with appropriate concern.

"We know it's there -- it keeps coming back every time he gets extended a little bit," Mattingly said. "If it keeps bouncing back, it's hard to say this guy's going to throw 200 innings next year."

Chen has never thrown 200 innings, but he has thrown over 185 innings three times in his career, and his previous low for innings was 123 1/3 last season. He finished this season with 33 innings, going 2-1 with a 3.82 ERA.

"There are guys that have pitched with it," Mattingly said. "It's just a matter of how we're going to be able to manage it. Is it going to be a five-inning type thing, 70 pitches? You hope for the best.

"Hopefully, he just felt a little soreness and it's just part of the process and then has a full winter to build and strengthen and really be a guy next year for us. That's what you hope for."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver. He covered the Marlins on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.