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Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Kyuji Fujikawa to undergo surgery

By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs reliever Kyuji Fujikawa will undergo Tommy John surgery, GM Jed Hoyer announced Wednesday.

"He does have a rupture of the UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) so he will need Tommy John surgery," Hoyer said before the Cubs played the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. "It obviously puts him out for this year."

Fujikawa was injured on Sunday on a pitch to Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds. He underwent an MRI on Tuesday. The Cubs signed the right-hander to a two-year, $9.5 million deal in the offseason.

"It's my first big injury of my career," Fujikawa said through an interpreter. "I'm going to just try and come back from this strong."

The 32-year-old Fujikawa (1-1, 2 saves, 5.25 ERA) went on the DL earlier this season with a right forearm strain, an injury he occasionally had in Japan where he pitched professionally for 12 years before signing with the Cubs. He was asked if that problem led to this one.

"It's the same area but it's the ligament so it could have been," Fujikawa said.

Both Hoyer and Fujikawa were asked if he was damaged goods when he signed with the Cubs. Fujikawa first felt forearm pain near the end of spring training. He said he was healthy when he signed his deal.

"Think you could tell that from my performance (early)," Fujikawa explained.

Hoyer added: "He had multiple MRI's with us (before signing), this is something that happened the other day. It happens. It's unfortunate. It's the nature of pitching. We're hopeful he'll rehab hard and come back next year."

Tommy John surgery has about a year recovery period though Hoyer said it could be slightly shorter for a reliever like Fujikawa. No date has been set for surgery as the Cubs are waiting for the swelling to go down. Hoyer said surgery is likely in the U.S. and not Japan.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum says he'll use several options to replace Fujikawa as set-up man. Former closer Carlos Marmol should get more chances in that role.