Atlanta Braves‘ starting pitcher Brandon Beachy has reportedly experienced a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. The news broke after Mike Minor was penciled in to take Beachy’s start against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. Beachy is scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday, which is never a good sign. Dr. Andrews is an orthopedic surgeon who works out of the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center. Last June, Beachy’s season was ended for Tommy John surgery after he had posted a league leading 2.00 ERA.
The Braves were happy to have Beachy back, and he had performed very well so far in his recovery. After his first start, he’s posted a 2.73 ERA, giving up only eight earned runs over 26.1 innings pitched. Beachy was given an MRI, but the Braves haven’t released the results as of yet. This could mean the end to his season, or at least some extra recovery time. He had a small setback in June while making a rehab start in the minors, which took him out for another few weeks.
Tommy John is a common pitching injury in baseball. Kris Medlen had it done when he was 24 years old, and since his return in late 2011 it has become clear that he has fully recovered. Tim Hudson and Alex Wood also got the surgery, Wood needing his when he was only 18 years old. Atlanta pitchers Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty both lost their season this year due to Tommy John surgery, as the recovery time is at least12 months.
Fortunately, the Braves have good depth in pitching. There was speculation that Medlen could move to the bullpen, but if Atlanta needs him to remain in the lineup he certainly can fill that role. Teheran and Wood have done outstanding this season, and both continue to get better. Paul Maholm returned to the rotation Thursday night after a month long stint on the disabled list for a bruised wrist. If the Braves lose Beachy for a few weeks, it wouldn’t be a big deal; they are deep enough to sustain themselves to the post season. The issue is, however, in the postseason you need a few really good pitchers, and I’m not sure if guys like Maholm are World Series caliber. The Braves need Beachy if they intend to be a powerhouse in the postseason.