Litsch out for season, set for hip surgery
Mills called up to make Saturday's start against Rays
TORONTO -- Jesse Litsch would prefer to keep pitching, but the Blue Jays starter understands that it is better that he take care of his nagging hip injury now. It is the only way he can make a run at a rotation spot next spring.
"It's the best thing for the team and the organization to get it done now," Litsch said.
The Blue Jays placed Litsch on the 15-day disabled list Friday, and the pitcher is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair a labral tear in his right hip next week. The recovery period for the operation is four to six months, giving Litsch time to prepare for Spring Training.
With Litsch sidelined for the remainder of the season, Toronto recalled left-hander Brad Mills from Triple-A Las Vegas. Mills will take Litsch's spot in the rotation, getting the nod on Saturday at home against the Rays.
Litsch noted that he has pitched with the hip issue for much of the past five years. The right-hander said he initially underwent an MRI exam on his hip in 2006 and did not have the injury re-evaluated until July 30, when an MRI revealed more significant damage.
The Blue Jays had a hip specialist examine the results on Thursday, and they ultimately decided that surgery was the best solution.
"It didn't seem that it was going to be that bad," said Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston. "It turns out that it is. It's a thing of wait and do it, or do it now so he's ready for Spring Training. That's pretty much what it is."
Litsch said it was a "group decision" to have the surgery, but later said he would have preferred to keep pitching.
"I wanted to pitch -- that's me," Litsch said. "This is obviously not what I wanted. I want to be out there pitching, but it has to be done, I guess."
The 25-year-old returned to the Blue Jays' rotation in June following a year-long recovery from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. In nine starts for Toronto this year, Litsch went 1-5 with a 5.79 ERA.
Asked why he did not have the hip surgery while he was sidelined last season, Litsch shrugged.
"Obviously, in a perfect world, we would've done it when I had Tommy John," Litch said. "But we didn't know about it. Now, I'm going to be out two more months. You've just got to deal with it. Things happen in life."
Litsch made it clear that the injury did not affect his performance while on the mound -- only after his outings and during workouts. That said, Litsch added that the surgery may help his delivery and said the recovery time may also benefit his surgically-repaired elbow.
The 25-year-old Mills has spent the bulk of this season with Triple-A, with the exception of a July 28 start for the Blue Jays when the lefty fashioned seven shutout innings in a 5-0 win over the Orioles. Mills went 8-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 17 starts for Las Vegas this season.
For Litsch, it is a disappointing end to what has been a bittersweet season.
"It was an up-and-down year, obviously," Litsch said. "I was back here pitching, that was the main thing i wanted to do. I got back when I wanted to get back from rehab. It was all part of the process."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.