DETROIT — Right-hander Justin Duchscherer will undergo season-ending left hip surgery, adding another unwanted chapter to his injury-plagued career.
Duchscherer, who hadn't pitched in a game since April 29, was in Phoenix rehabbing his hip and trying to return to the A's rotation without surgery.
But he felt sore after throwing a 20-pitch simulated game Friday. After consulting with doctors, he decided that having surgery right away was the best call.
"I knew inevitably it had to happen," Duchscherer said in a conference call Saturday night. "I was just hoping I could pitch part of the season or get through to the end. But I felt myself changing my mechanics, and I didn't want to hurt my arm with different mechanics."
He left an April 29 start at Toronto with hip pain. He went on the DL but tried to return for a May 15 start against the Los Angeles Angels, only to aggravate the injury and go right back to the DL.
The surgery will fix an abnormality in his hip where the femur (thigh) bone and joint meet. It's the same congenital problem as Duchscherer had in his twice-operated on right hip.
Dr. Thomas Byrd, who performed both surgeries on Duchscherer's right hip, will handle this procedure. No date has been set, but the estimated recovery time is six months.
It's yet another hurdle for Duchscherer, 32, a two-time All-Star who has made seven trips to the DL. He missed all of last season because of right elbow surgery and a subsequent bout with clinical depression.
Duchscherer, who joined the A's in a 2002 trade from Texas, tested free agency last winter but re-signed on a one-year, $1.75 million deal.
"We went into this contract with Justin knowing there was a possibility that injuries could be a factor," A's assistant general manager David Forst said. "You feel bad. He did such a good job coming back from the elbow. "... Unfortunately we just couldn't avoid the hip."
Retirement is not in Duchscherer's plans. If his recovery goes well, he should be ready for spring training.
He'll be a free agent again this offseason and said he'd definitely consider returning to Oakland if the A's were interested.
The move puts Willis onto waivers, but a team claiming him would need to pick up the remainder of his $12 million salary.
If he goes unclaimed, the Tigers have 10 days to trade him, release him or option his contract to one of their minor league teams. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, though, said that he doesn't think Willis will remain with the organization.
Willis joined the Tigers as part of the same trade that brought Miguel Cabrera to Detroit after the 2007 season, and signed a three-year, $29 million contract extension.
The 28-year-old is a two-time All-Star and a former NL Rookie of the Year who helped Florida win a World Series in his first year and then was a 22-game winner two seasons later.
The Associated Press contributed to this notebook.