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Detroit – Tigers pitching prospect Bryan Garcia is going to spend Valentine’s Day on the examining table of orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

Garcia, who was expected to start the season at Triple-A Toledo, possibly as the closer, began to feel pain in his right elbow as he accelerated his throwing program last week. He informed the Tigers on Monday and the appointment with Dr. Andrews was made for Feb. 14.

It will be the second time in less than six months Andrews has examined Garcia’s right elbow. It’s possible Tommy John surgery will be required to repair the ulnar collateral ligament – which would effectively end Garcia’s 2018 season.

“We went through it last fall,” said Tigers director of player development David Littlefield. “He had some discomfort, we shut him down and he went to see Andrews, who recommended a conservative treatment where he stopped throwing.”

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Toward the end of September, Garcia started throwing again and felt fine. The Tigers instructed him not to throw over the winter and just focus on strength and conditioning.

“He began throwing again in January and after the first couple of bullpens felt OK,” Littlefield said. “But as he progressed and started ramping up his throwing he had some pain.”

Garcia, 22, was a sixth-round pick in 2016 and is rated as the 22nd best prospect in the Tigers’ system by MLBPipeline. He enjoyed a rapid ascent through the system last season – going from Class A to Triple-A, compiling a 2.13 ERA, allowing just 36 hits and two home runs in 55 innings, with 78 strikeouts.

The all-time saves leader at University of Miami has had no previous history of shoulder or elbow issues up until this point.

Twitter @cmccosky

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