LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy will miss the rest of the season with a torn elbow ligament, creating a hole in the middle of the rotation for a Los Angeles team with World Series aspirations.
"This is kind of abrupt. But that's where your depth is tested, and we have a lot of viable options for that spot," manager Don Mattingly said Monday.
McCarthy left Saturday's game at San Diego in the sixth inning when he gave up his third home run of the night in an 11-8 victory. The slim right-hander had an MRI that revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament, ending his first season with the Dodgers after four starts.
"To be fair, 31 years of use is a lot to ask for from a ligament," McCarthy posted on Twitter.
He sounded resigned to having Tommy John surgery, which would likely sideline him for 12-18 months.
"It certainly looks one direction, but I don't want to stretch it out for several months and waste everyone's time. If this is what we need to get done, we're going to get it done -- and done soon," McCarthy said. "I did everything I could to keep myself healthy. I felt fantastic for a year and a half."
McCarthy was 3-0 despite a 5.87 ERA and nine home runs allowed in 23 innings. The 10-year veteran, who turns 32 on July 7, signed a $48 million, four-year contract with the Dodgers in December after spending last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees.
"All the manual tests came back, and the ligament wasn't firing up at all. The doctor tested it and said the ligament feels fine. Then, once we looked at the film, we saw that wasn't the case," McCarthy said. "I'm obviously disappointed, but there's no need to mope about it. It's the longest [layoff] I've ever had, but I've had way worse news delivered to me."
McCarthy was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday, retroactive to April 26. Left-hander Adam Liberatore was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
"I really expected him to go on the DL today. But we thought more along the lines of tendinitis or something like that, and that he was going to bounce back from this," Mattingly said. "He talked about having something similar last year and be able to pitch through it. So I looked at it from the bright side of it, and I felt like that's what I was going to hear today. But I saw Stan's face (head trainer Stan Conte), I knew right away it wasn't going to be good news."
This is McCarthy's 11th trip to the DL since making his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox in 2005, but none of the previous ones were due to an elbow injury. He has pitched for six teams, including Texas and Oakland, and is 55-65 with a 4.13 ERA.
"You hear the comment a lot about 'next man up,' and somebody's going to have to step forward and pitch well. That's what we'll really expect to happen," Mattingly said. "We still feel good about our club, and we have to find a way to get it done."
For now, the club has no plans to look elsewhere for starting pitchers.
"Historically, April/May trades are pretty uncommon. So for the most part, we are going to look inside [the organization]," said Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations. "We have a number of interesting candidates -- Scott Baker pitched well yesterday. So we'll take some time, focus internally right now and we'll see what we have. Then we will wake up in June and scout other organizations throughout the next six weeks and try to figure out where to go from there.
"We talk so much about depth, and you never have enough," Friedman said. "But immediately, my thoughts went to Brandon. He had never had an elbow injury when we signed him, so this falls into this happening to anyone' category. Obviously, it's a really difficult place to be for a competitor -- to be out for a year. We told him we will stand behind him and get through this."