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.