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Moehler facing elbow surgery

HOUSTON, May 22 (UPI) -- Veteran righthander Brian Moehler likely faces the dreaded Tommy John surgery after finding out he has partial tear of the MCL in his pitching elbow.

Moehler, who called Wednesday "one of the darkest days of my days in baseball," now must decide to either undergo an extensive rehab period or have the surgery. He has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 17 with tendonitis.

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"Tommy John surgery would not only finish his season this year, but next year as well," said Houston General Manager Gerry Hunsicker. "That's a long haul. The other option is starting the conservative rehab, but that probably doesn't have great odds, and the best case scenario is six to eight weeks before he can compete."

"I want to decide as quick as possible," he said. "If I'm going to have surgery, I want to do it right away. I don't want to keep waiting. I'll go home and think about it, and in the next couple days I'll have a decision."

Moehler, two years removed from undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, has plans to speak with a number of players who have had the Tommy John procedure before he makes his decision.

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"If I rehab, I'm out at least until the All-Star break, pretty simple, and there's no guarantee I'll be back," Moehler told the Houston Chronicle.

For the season, Moehler is 0-0 with a 7.90 ERA in three starts for the Astros. He left a rehab start for Triple-A New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League Monday after just two innings.

Moehler, 31, has a career record of 50-56. In his eight-year career with Detroit, Cincinnati, and the Astros, he has pitched 866 innings, has an ERA of 4.57, and 469 strikeouts.

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