Detroit reliever Al Alburquerque has had surgery on his pitching elbow and is likely to be sidelined for the first half of the season.
The Tigers say the right-hander had a screw inserted during an operation Thursday by Dr. James Andrews. Alburquerque is expected to start a throwing progression toward the end of spring training and potentially return to game action by the All-Star break.
Alburquerque was one of Detroit's most pleasant surprises in 2011, going 6-1 as a rookie with a 1.87 ERA. He struck out 67 in 43 1-3 innings, holding hitters to a .142 average. The Tigers bolstered their bullpen recently by adding right-hander Octavio Dotel.
The Tigers say Alburquerque's operation was to stabilize a non-displaced stress fracture.