MILWAUKEE -- Brewers starter Brent Suter has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery, meaning a yearlong rehabilitation for a left-hander who has served as a valuable swingman over parts of the past three seasons.
Suter grimaced after throwing to first base for the final out of the third inning on Sunday, then went straight into the clubhouse with a member of Milwaukee's athletic training staff, the latest injury issue for a team beset by them of late. The initial diagnosis in the wake of the Brewers' 11-2 loss to the Dodgers was left forearm tightness -- the same injury that landed Suter on the 10-day disabled list before the All-Star break -- but an MRI scan on Monday revealed a much more severe setback.
Suter called it "a really tough day."
"I thought, at the worst, it would be a partial strain of the UCL," Suter said. "I thought it was just still muscle or maybe a little bit of [ligament] damage, but the doctor said it was a full tear and pretty straightforward. Hugely disappointing. It's a setback, but I've got a new path to take here, and I've just got to rehab and get back to being stronger than I was before."
The Brewers recalled reliever Jorge Lopez from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Monday and placed Suter on the 10-day DL. The team had a six-man rotation coming out of the All-Star break, so it won't need to immediately add a starter in Suter's spot.
Suter, who was making his second start since coming off the DL, said he felt some soreness during the Dodgers' five-run rally in the second inning, but he pitched through it. In the third, soreness turned to pain, and Suter grabbed his forearm as he walked off the field.
Taylor Williams, who underwent Tommy John surgery himself three years ago, took over for Suter in the fourth inning with the Dodgers leading, 6-2. It turned into Milwaukee's eighth loss in nine games.
"There have been some good success stories, even on our team right now," Suter said. "That's something I'm going to lean on, for sure. Lean on those guys for advice and for their inspiration and how they've come back and been successful. I'm definitely going to be using those guys for pick-me-ups, for sure."
This season, Suter went 8-7 with a 4.80 ERA -- which was inflated by the Dodgers' five-run second inning on Sunday that was aided by first baseman Ryan Braun missing a popup. The play was ruled a hit. Had it been an error, four of the five runs would have been unearned.
Suter made 20 appearances (18 starts) and pitched 101 1/3 innings.
"It's tough news," manager Craig Counsell said. "It's tough news for Brent, first of all. We're going to miss him. It's a lengthy rehab. It's an important rehab, and any time a player's got that ahead of him, you feel for a guy like that. Unfortunately, it's a tough injury for a pitcher. Now, he's going to have to get through it."
Suter has stared down challenges before. As a 31st-round Draft pick of the Brewers in 2012, with a fastball in the mid-80s, he faced long odds just to get to the Major Leagues.
"I'm for sure up to the challenge," Suter said. "It's a different path than I would have chosen, but it's definitely a path that I'm going to be committed to and working as hard as I can to up my nutrition, with the rehab program to get it as strong as I can and as healthy as I can. I'm just going to try to get after it as much as I can and get back to helping the team win."