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Anderson unlikely to return, to see surgeon Monday

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PHOENIX -- Rockies left-handed pitcher Brett Anderson will visit Monday with a spinal surgeon about a bulging disk in his lower back. Even if surgery isn't the answer, he's unlikely to return this year.

Anderson left Tuesday's start against the Cubs after three scoreless innings. Anderson (1-3, 2.91 ERA in eight starts) had pitched well after missing three months with a fractured left index finger. Now, his next step is to visit with Arizona spinal surgeon Dr. Chris Young to decide whether surgery or an epidural treatment is the route.

"I doubt it," Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said when asked whether Anderson could return if he doesn't have surgery. "It takes a couple weeks to calm it down even if we go the injection route. Then you've got to rehab him a couple weeks, get him on his core exercises."

The injury is a blow to the oft-injured Anderson, 26. He had no history of back problems, but was limited to 16 big league appearances last year with the Athletics because of a right foot stress fracture and ankle issues, and he underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in 2011.

In the starting rotation, the Rockies have already lost righty Tyler Chatwood to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and although righty Jhoulys Chacin has begun light throwing exercises, it's against the odds that he'll return this year from right shoulder rotator cuff inflammation and a slight labrum tear.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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