MIAMI -- Brewers reliever David Riske woke up from surgery on Tuesday to the worst-case scenario. Riske required a full reconstruction of his right elbow. The Tommy John ligament replacement surgery will sideline the right-hander for the rest of this season and could keep him out for the start of 2010. Such surgeries typically require 9-12 months of rehabilitation. Noted orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum performed the surgery in Los Angeles. He examined Riske on Monday, but it was unclear whether Riske would require a total reconstruction until the procedure was under way.
"It's too bad," said Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who received the news via telephone while the Brewers took batting practice prior to Tuesday's game against the Marlins. "He was a durable guy when we signed him." The Brewers and Riske finalized a three-year, $13 million contract at the 2007 Winter Meetings. He's still under contract for 2010, and the team owns a $4.75 million option for '11. Assistant general manager Gord Ash announced on Tuesday morning that Riske would undergo surgery, a few hours before the team promoted right-hander Mike Burns from Triple-A Nashville to bolster a worn-out bullpen. The Brewers began the season with hope that Riske would be a durable option, but he made only one appearance before going to the disabled list with elbow discomfort. He was diagnosed with laxity, or looseness, of the ulnar collateral ligament. Brewers head physician Dr. William Raasch and Yocum both recommended Tommy John surgery as an option, but Riske opted to attempt a non-surgical rehabilitation. He was pitching in extended Spring Training last month when he experienced a recurrence of pain. "He tried the other way, and you can't blame him," Melvin said. Last year, Riske pitched through pain for much of the season and ran up a 5.32 ERA in 45 games. He did not pitch after Sept. 7 and underwent surgery on Sept. 23 to remove a bone spur.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.