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Sheets may be unable to pitch this year

Ben Sheets has been a targeted acquisition desired by fans on this well as many other fan blogs for other teams.  The reason is fairly obviously, Sheets has injury problems, but when healthy, he is one of the best pitchers in the game.

Now it appears that Sheets may require surgery for an elbow tendon tear.  Apparently, Sheets and the Rangers were close to a 2 year contract, which only required a physical exam.  However, the physical revealed that the tear may require surgery.  The status of Sheets injury had previously been viewed as correctable with rest.  And the Brewers were comfortable enough with that prognosis to extend an arbitration offer. 

Terming the issue a worker's compensation matter, the Brewers front office says that the league is still working through a determination of who might be responsible for the cost of the surgery.    It seems like this kind of issue must crop up fairly frequently, so I'm surprised that the determination seems so mysterious.

Apparently, a team could still offer an incentive laden deal to Sheets, pay for his surgery, and rehab, and then hope that he returns to his former skill level in the second year of his contract.  However, I assume a team wouldn't want to do that until after June 9, when Sheets' signing would no longer cost the team a first round draft choice. 

UPDATE: Sheets indicates that he intends to undergo surgery and expects to be able to pitch in the second half of this season.