Top pitching prospect RHP Taylor Guerrieri will be sidelined for at least a full year after having Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery Wednesday.

Guerrieri 20 had sailed through the first half of his first full season at Class A Bowling Green going 6-2 2.01 ERA in 14 starts. But he was given two weeks off due to what the team said was fatigue then lasted only two innings in his July 15 return before leaving with elbow stiffness.

Guerrieri visited noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday at his clinic near Pensacola then had what the team termed successful surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Normal rehab and recovery time is at least 12 months; Guerrieri could get back into games by the end of the 2014 season or in the instructional league but he realistically won't pitch competitively until 2015. Assuming he regains his form Guerrieri the Rays' top pick in the 2011 draft likely is at least three years away from the majors whenever he returns.

"A tough year" farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "We will do everything we can to get him to the big leagues."

LHP Jake McGee who had similar surgery as a 21-year-old at Double A said it's tough to deal with being out so long and important to not rush the rehab but the success rate is encouraging. "You come back just as good" McGee now 26 said. "I've heard (Guerrieri) throws pretty hard so even if he drops a couple miles an hour when he comes back it's not going to hurt him a lot."

RHP Alex Colome who pitched earlier this season for the Rays is on the disabled list at Triple-A Durham with an elbow strain but is expected back before the end of the season.