Brandon McCarthy diagnosed with torn ulnar collateral ligament

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Dodgers right-hander Brandon McCarthy had to leave Saturday’s start with elbow tightness and tests have revealed the worst-case scenario. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that McCarthy has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, which means that he’s almost certainly headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery.

McCarthy turned a strong finish with the Yankees last season into a four-year, $48 million contract with the Dodgers over the winter. Some saw that as a risky deal, but his injury history has all been about his shoulder until now. McCarthy had a 5.87 ERA with nine home runs allowed over his first four starts with the Dodgers this season.

McCarthy has a torn ligament in his elbow and now has a lengthy rehab process in front of him, but at least he still has his trademark sense of humor:

We here at HardballTalk look forward to seeing McCarthy back to full strength next season.

The Dodgers are also without Hyun-Jin Ryu at the moment and it’s hard to count on Brett Anderson to stay healthy, so the back-end of their rotation has some big questions. Scott Baker made a spot-start against the Padres yesterday and Joe Wieland and Zach Lee linger as alternatives. Similar to the Cardinals, they could eventually look to the trade market, with Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels a logical possibility.

Joe Girardi steps down as manager of USA Baseball

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Baseball is an Olympic sport once again and USA Baseball begins the road to qualifying for the 2020 Games in just a couple of weeks. They’ll be doing it with a new manager, though, as current team USA manager Joe Girardi has stepped down from the role in order to concentrate on his quest to return to managing in the big leagues.

Girardi has interviewed for the Cubs job already and is candidate for the openings with the Mets and the Phillies. His stepping down from the Olympic job suggests that he thinks he stands a pretty good chance of getting one of the seven current openings around the game. Or, at the very least, that he wishes to show clubs with openings that he’s serious.

Girardi will be replaced by Scott Brosius, who was poised to be Girardi’s bench coach with Team USA.

The team begins training in Arizona on October 21. It begins playing qualifier games in early November in Mexico. Eventually, the 2020 Olympic Games will feature a six-nation field.