SAN DIEGO -- The Blue Jays may have recorded a dramatic extra-inning victory over the Padres on Sunday night, but after the game, everyone in their clubhouse was thinking about the future of right-hander Ramon Ortiz.
The 12-year veteran was forced to depart his start in the top of the third inning with a right elbow injury. He threw a pitch to Chase Headley and then almost immediately slammed his glove into the ground while appearing to be in severe pain.
Ortiz left the ballpark shortly after the incident and there was no immediate word on the extent of his injury, but his teammates were clearly fearing for the worst. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.
"It doesn't look good, but he'll go to Florida to get examined, get an MRI and we'll have a better idea in the next few days," manager John Gibbons said.
"I saw him after it happened, in the training room. He has been at this game a long, long time. He has been a pretty healthy guy and this game takes its toll on you. He's a winner, he's a champ. I feel for him."
Ortiz was visibly emotional on the field and in the clubhouse after the incident. The 40-year-old beat the odds by returning to the Major Leagues this season after spending all of last year in the Minors and he has to know if the injury turns out to be severe, the chances of him making it back again are slim at best.
That had everyone in the Blue Jays' clubhouse feeling mixed emotions. On one hand, they secured a much-needed victory over San Diego to avoid the three-game sweep. But on the other hand, one of their favorite players went down and there's no way of knowing whether he'll be back.
"What a somber game for us with Ramon and what happened to him," infielder Mark DeRosa said. "Watching him reflect on his career, hopefully he didn't throw his last pitch."
Ortiz has appeared in 303 games during his career. He played for the Angels, Twins, Rockies, Dodgers, Nationals, Cubs and Reds before joining the Blue Jays during the offseason on a Minor League deal.
The Dominican native was expected to serve as an organizational-depth pitcher this season, but he was called upon multiple times at the big league level. Following injuries to several pitchers, Ortiz appeared in seven games -- including four starts -- during three stints with the team.
Blue Jays right-hander Steve Delabar suffered a severe injury of his own when he fractured his right elbow while throwing a pitch earlier in his career. He beat the odds and managed to return, but also had youth on his side.
There are certainly no guarantees with Ortiz, but for now the Blue Jays will hope the test results don't reveal the type of structural damage many expect.
"I've been through that before and you never want to see that, especially with a guy like Ramon, such a good heart, he plays the game real hard and for that to happen today is just sad," Delabar said.
"That's tough. Any time you have an injury, you never know what's going to happen after that. Prayers go out to him and just hope for the best."