Right-hander Ryan Madson needs Tommy John elbow surgery and will miss the entire season.
Madson returned to Cincinnati and was examined by team medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek. The Reds said Saturday that Kremchek told general manager Walt Jocketty the ligament was torn from the bone of Madson's right elbow.
''We talked to the team. We all have to stay positive,'' Jocketty said. ''We have alternatives internally that we will sort through in the next few days.''
The 31-year old reported discomfort in his elbow at the start of spring training but insisted it was an annual ailment that he had always worked through. He didn't pitch in any exhibition games.
Madson pitched batting practice Tuesday and had been scheduled to throw again on Friday.
''He looked very good on Tuesday. He felt some tightness the next day,'' Jocketty said. ''He felt fine all spring until lately. Even after he sat out for a little bit and came back he felt real good. After the live session the other day it felt tight but even when he left the other day, he felt fine.''
Dr. Kremchek explained to Jocketty that bleeding made it appear the tear was recent.
Lefty Sean Marshall, another of the Reds' offseason acquisitions, is expected to replace Madson as the team's closer, with lefty Aroldis Chapman moving to the bullpen.
Madson signed a one-year, $8.5 million free-agent contract with the Reds after his long-term negotiations with his previous team, the Philadelphia Phillies, ended in a dispute between agent Scott Boras and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro.
Madson then lingered on the market, ultimately agreeing to a club-friendly deal with the Reds that includes a $6 million salary for this season — $4 million deferred — plus a $2.5 million buyout on a mutual option for 2013.
Madson saved 32 games and had a 2.37 ERA for the Phillies last season, his first as a full-time closer. The Phillies replaced him by signing free agent Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million contract.