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Dodgers reliever Chris Withrow has torn ligament and been told he needs Tommy John surgery

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Chris Withrow was diagnosed with a ligament tear in his right elbow and was told he needs Tommy John surgery.

The team said Thursday that their first-round draft pick in 2007 was examined last week by team physician Neal ElAttrache, who diagnosed a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament. Withrow, who last pitched for the Dodgers on May 20 in New York, was placed on the disabled list and will consult another doctor next week before deciding his next course of action.

Last week, the 25-yuear-old Texan was demoted to Triple-A Albuquerque. He had a 2.95 ERA in 20 appearances this season, with 28 strikeouts and 18 walks in 21 1-3 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .143 batting average. Five of his outings lasted longer than one inning.

"Chris has always been a guy that we've paid attention to," manager Don Mattingly said. "And when we've used him, you never knew how he was going to bounce back the next day — whether we used him one inning or two innings.

"He pitched the night before he went down. He was throwing 95, and he got guys out in the eighth. So there was nothing that we're trying to hide here," Mattingly added. "It is a blow for us because he's a guy with a power arm and power stuff. But we got caught up in a numbers game. So it wasn't that he didn't deserve to be here."

On April 27 against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium, Withrow walked the bases loaded in the eighth inning and Mattingly had enough confidence in him to let him get out of the jam. He did, striking out Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki to help preserve a 6-3 victory.

"I remember taking questions about him the day he pitched with the bases loaded and got Tulo and Cargo out. So he's a guy we're going to miss," Mattingly said. "He's a guy that had some success for us in that playoff run last year, and you all saw how I used him in the seventh and eighth inning."

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