Elbow injury puts end to lefty Cecil's season

Elbow injury puts end to lefty Cecil's season

TORONTO -- The injuries continued to pile up for the Blue Jays on Tuesday as left-hander Brett Cecil was shut down for the year because of an elbow injury.

Cecil first began experiencing some symptoms approximately a month ago, which led to a more limited role in the bullpen. He had been examined by doctors and was informed he could keep pitching but that he would require more rest between outings.

The hope was that Cecil could make it through the remainder of the season, but that changed in recent days when the discomfort lingered. Despite the location of the injury, Cecil doesn't seem overly worried that he might be a candidate for Tommy John surgery, because doctors previously ruled out damage to his ligament.

"I'm about 90-percent sure that it's just for precautionary reasons and think it's a matter of getting rest in the offseason," Cecil said.

"If it was in the ligament, I would have felt that, and I didn't. Everything right now just points to nerve inflammation, which is good, in the sense that it's not something else, but the doctor also told me that it's bad in a way, that the nerve is getting irritated because it's being overworked."

Cecil left the team late Tuesday afternoon and is now expected to travel to the club's Minor League complex in Florida. He'll be re-examined in the near future and surgery hasn't been completely ruled out, but the hope remains that if a procedure is required, it would just be a minor operation.

The fact that Cecil's season comes to a slightly premature end shouldn't come as a major surprise considering his workload from earlier in the year. He transitioned to the bullpen during Spring Training and, once there, combined with right-hander Steve Delabar in middle relief.

Toronto's bullpen was extremely overworked during the first half of the year because of an underwhelming performance by the starting rotation. It ultimately caught up to Cecil and Delabar as both pitchers ended up getting hurt, but in Cecil's case, it could be more fatigue than any serious structural issues.

"For the last month or so, I've probably had three or four days off between outings," Cecil said. "It was good, it was fine, completely went away. I didn't feel much of anything at all, and then the last time I pitched, the next day, it was really irritated, and for me it made sense to at least say something, because after having that much rest, it's still getting flared up again.

"Let's take the high road and make sure there's nothing serious that's wrong, which I don't think it is. The trainers don't think it is, the doctors don't think it is, but after it has popped up for a second time, might as well get a precautionary MRI, peace-of-mind kind of thing."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.