George Sherrill scheduled for Tommy John elbow surgery

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Mariners left-hander George Sherrill was shut down after the team’s season-opening trip to Tokyo, Japan because of lingering discomfort in his throwing elbow.

Now he can be ruled out for the rest of 2012.

According to beat reporter Shannon Drayer of Seattle’s 710 AM ESPN, the veteran lefty relief specialist is scheduled to undergo Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery early next month.

Relievers can sometimes return to action within a year, but there are no guarantees.

Sherrill allowed six hits and four earned runs in 1 1/3 innings of work this season. He had a 3.00 ERA in 36 frames last year for the Braves, then agreed to a one-year, $1.1 million contract with Seattle in December.