A’s reliever Andrew Carignan likely needs elbow surgery

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Andrew Carignan looked like a potential late-inning bullpen option for the A’s after posting a 2.40 ERA and fantastic 40/8 K/BB ratio in 30 innings at Triple-A, but he’s struggled to throw strikes in the majors and now he might be going under the knife.

Carignan has been placed on the disabled list with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the A’s believe the ligament is actually torn, which would require season-ending Tommy John surgery.

It’s a particularly tough break because Carignan will be 26 years old next month and was just getting a chance to establish himself in the majors, but Tommy John surgery would knock him out until mid-2013 at the earliest.