ATLANTA -- Chris Reitsma won't pitch again this year. His status for next season will be determined by the type of surgery prescribed by Dr. James Andrews.
"He's going to have surgery for sure -- season-ending surgery," Braves head trainer Jeff Porter said. "At this point yet, we don't know what he's going to have. There's still some question marks as to what's going on with the MRI."
When Braves physicians looked at the MRI taken of Reitsma's right elbow on Monday, they determined there is definitely enough damage to prevent a return this year. But it will be Andrews who determines whether the right-handed reliever needs Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery.
Reitsma is scheduled to visit Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on July 17.
If he doesn't need to undergo the Tommy John surgical procedure, during which a ligament is replaced into the damaged elbow area, Reitsma will likely need to have an ulnar nerve transposition. The latter procedure would require about six months of rehab, which is half of what is required with the former.
Reitsma has been battling numbness in his right hand all season, but didn't tell the Braves until after his June 11 appearance in Houston. By that time, he'd blown four of 12 save opportunities and compiled a 9.11 ERA.
A few days later, it was determined the numbness was being caused by bone spurs located in his elbow. He was placed on the disabled list on June 13 and returned on Saturday night, only to be bothered with the same ailment. He exited that appearance after hitting the Orioles' Miguel Tejada with a pitch.
This has been a trying year for Reitsma, who entered this season with hopes of being able to hold on to the closer's role. During the previous two seasons, while working as both a closer and setup man, he appeared in nearly half of the Braves games. He made a franchise-record 84 appearances in 2004.
"Trying to hit him was like trying to drink coffee with a fork." - Willie Stargell on Sandy Koufax