South Korean pitcher Lim Chang-yong of the Yakult Swallows in Japan has undergone a successful surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right elbow, the club said.
The Swallows said in an announcement Thursday that Lim had his second elbow reconstructive operation, also known as Tommy John surgery after the former major league pitcher. The team estimated Lim, 36, will need about a year to recover.
Lim appeared to have suffered the injury in a June 22 game against the Yomiuri Giants. With the team leading 5-2 in the bottom eighth, Lim relieved starter Katsuki Akagawa. But Lim only retired two batters while giving up a walk and two hits, and complained of heaviness in his pitching arm after the game.
Lim had his first Tommy John operation in 2005 and needed almost two years to recover his dominant form that saw him lead the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) in saves in three different seasons.
Lim joined the Japanese club before the 2008 season, after pitching 13 seasons for two different teams in South Korea. Lim has racked up 128 saves in Japan, the most by a Korean pitcher there.
Last year, he appeared in 65 games, the highest total since 1999, often pitching in non-save situations. He began this season in the minors and hasn't recorded a save in nine appearances.
Lim's current contract with the Swallows expires at the end of this season, with a mutual option for a third season. (Yonhap News)