Felipe Paulino likely to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Felipe Paulino is currently on the disabled list with a groin injury, but suddenly that’s the least of the hard-throwing Royals right-hander’s problems.

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that Paulino has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and is “likely” to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.

While rehabbing the groin injury Paulino threw three innings in a Double-A game Wednesday and struggled, and apparently experienced elbow pain in the process. He has a history of arm problems and began the season on the DL with an elbow injury, but tearing an elbow ligament while rehabbing a groin injury is some pretty awful luck.

It’s particularly unfortunate because between all the DL stints Paulino had emerged as a potential breakout starter for the Royals, throwing 162 innings with a 3.55 ERA and 158/63 K/BB ratio since they acquired him from the Rockies for pennies on the dollar last season.

Now he’s likely out until at least mid-2013 and the Royals’ already shaky rotation depth takes another big hit after losing Danny Duffy to Tommy John surgery earlier this year.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.

Dodgers can clinch NL West on Friday

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The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.

Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.

The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.