As it turned out, injured Tigers reliever Luke Putkonen did not need Tommy John surgery. But the 28-year-old reliever did require corrective surgery. Putkonen went under Dr. James Andrew's knife to have a bone spur removed in his right elbow.
Trainer Kevin Rand described the procedure as smoothing out an area of bony growth in Putkonen's elbow.
"We knew he had the osteophytes (bone spurs) when we did the MRI. Those are common. You can have a lot of guys that’ll have those type of bony type changes in their elbow from pitching. The question is, are you going to be able to get that quiet where you can go through and have no issues with it, and obviously he wasn’t able to."
Putkonen made the team out of spring training as the long man out of the bullpen. But he has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 19 with what was diagnosed at the time as right elbow inflammation.
Once an MRI found no structural damage in his elbow, Putkonen was given a minor league rehab assignment. After making one appearance with Singe-A West Michigan and a surviving a pair of rocky outings with Triple-A Toledo, Putkonen was recalled from rehab on May 16. Putkonen was then sent to get a second opinion from Dr. Andrews.
There is currently no set timetable for the right-hander's return to the team. After 6-to-8 weeks of rest and rehab, Putkonen will be re-evaluated.