by Steve Carney / 620 WDAE
The Tampa Bay Rays starting rotation has taken a hit.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times first reported Monday that starter Jeremy Hellickson underwent surgery on his pitching elbow, and is expected to be out until mid- to late-May.
The team has since confirmed the surgery, which was performed by team doctor Koco Eaton.
The 2011 American League Rookie of the Year struggled in the second half of 2013, going 12-10 with an earned run average of 5.17, but was 2-7 after July 26 after starting the year 10-3. Hellickson was sent to the minors for rest at the end of August.
The loss of Hellickson means pitchers Jake Odorizzi, Alex Colome and Enny Romero will likely get closer looks in Spring Training, which starts next week when pitchers and catchers report to the Rays spring training complex in Port Charlotte.