A’s starter Brett Anderson undergoes Tommy John surgery

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Brett Anderson was placed on the disabled list with a sore elbow in early June and Dr. James Andrews later advised him to rest for at least six weeks, which at the time indicated he wouldn’t need to go under the knife.

Unfortunately the time off must not have done much for Anderson’s elbow, as the A’s just announced that the 23-year-old southpaw underwent Tommy John surgery that knocks him out for the remainder of this season and most or perhaps even all of 2012.

Oakland has had tons of injury problems over the years, but losing Anderson is a particularly huge blow.  He was limited to just 19 starts last season due to elbow issues, but emerged as a potential ace with a 2.80 ERA and has a 3.66 career mark in 371 innings. Now he’s out for 12-18 months and no sure thing to pick up right where he left off once he does return. It’s a long, bumpy road coming back from Tommy John surgery and the A’s just lost one of their best long-term building blocks.

All of which makes Anderson’s decision to take the guaranteed money of a long-term deal in March of last year look pretty smart. He’ll make $3 million next season whether he pitches or not, has a $5.5 million salary locked in for 2013, and will get $3 million worth of buyouts if the A’s don’t exercise 2014 and 2015 options.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.