Jeremy Hellickson out 6-8 weeks

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson will miss the first six to eight weeks of the season after having arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow, the team announced Monday.

Hellickson, a right-hander who settled his arbitration case for $3.67 million on Jan. 17, had the procedure last week after his arm "locked up" during a second bullpen session of the year.

"I guess a lot of people were doubting me toward the end of last year, so I was motivated to get back out there and do what I know I can do," Hellickson said Monday during a conference call with reporters. "It's frustrating to go through this and have to miss a month, month and a half. But I'm just going to rehab, work hard and try to get back out there as soon as possible."

Hellickson, the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year, was 12-10 with a 5.17 ERA last season for the Rays. He also lowered his walk rate -- only 50 in 174 innings pitched -- and increased his strikeout rate (135), while opponents hit .333 with runners in scoring position.