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St. Louis Cardinals spring training

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jordan Schafer hits off a batting tee during St. Louis Cardinals spring training on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. Photo by Chris Lee, clee@post-dispatch.com

JUPITER, Fla. • That irritation in the middle of the forearm that caused Jordan Schafer some concern this past week was more telling and troublesome than he initially imagined.

Schafer will have elbow surgery later this week and will likely miss all of the upcoming season. An MRI taken of his left elbow late Monday was reviewed Tuesday, and the decision was made to have surgery later this week to repair a tear in his elbow ligament. At the time of the procedure, Dr. George Paletta will determine if Schafer needs completely reconstruction or if he's a candidate for the "primary repair" that can allow for a swifter return.

Schafer was attempting to make the Cardinals' team as both a reliever and an outfielder -- a two-way player unlike anything baseball has seen recently.

The lefthanded-hitting, lefthanded-throwing former top prospect entered camp as one of the best defensive outfielders and best baserunners the Cardinals had. He and the team said that it came down to how well he pitched. Schafer did well in some of his early appearances, but in his previous two he had a difficult time locating his breaking ball. He said he felt a sensation in his forearm that he tried to pitch through.

He explained that he was "competing" and trying to make the team.

He left Sunday's game with renewed discomfort in the forearm area. He was unsure if an MRI would be necessary. The team elected to have one done Monday, and it was at that time the tear was discovered.

A complete reconstruction, or Tommy John surgery, requires at least a 12-month rehab. The "primary repair" option that Mitch Harris and Seth Maness had this past year has the possibility of putting pitchers back in a throwing program in two-thirds that time.

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Derrick Goold is the lead Cardinals beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and past president of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.