On Friday morning, Mark Bowman of MLB.com tweeted some potentially devastating news for the Atlanta Braves regarding their pitching staff. In just a weeks time, the Braves could lose not just one, but two starting pitchers for the season to Tommy John surgery.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Kris Medlen will undergo the season-ending elbow procedure after meeting with Dr. James Andrews. An MRI showed ligament damage and Medlen told reporters that he’s preparing for a second Tommy John surgery. The 28-year-old pitcher left his start last Sunday early due to the injury.
Fast forward to Friday morning and the less-than-encouraging news received by fellow starter Brandon Beachy. Originally, Beachy left his most recent start due to simple bicep soreness. It seemed to be nothing more than the usual Spring Training discomfort at first that many pitchers go through. Now, however, it looks like Beachy will be going under the knife as well.
Bowman went on to say that both are going to be visiting Dr. Andrews on Monday. Beachy will be receiving a second opinion while Medlen will likely be receiving a final opinion. According to all reports, surgery seems imminent for both pitchers. A blow like that would be devastating to the Braves’ pitching staff.
Combined, the Braves would be losing 17 wins from a year ago. While Beachy only had five starts late in the season, he showed promise. In seven starts at triple-A last season, he pitched to a 3.00 ERA with 26 strikeouts. Medlen was certainly going to carry high expectations into this season after winning 15 games with a 3.11 ERA and 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings last year.
Originally, Atlanta was going to have Medlen, Beachy, Julio Teheran, Mike Minor and Alex Wood or Gavin Floyd as the starting five. With both Medlen and Beachy removed, this makes the signing of Ervin Santana more significant and the recent rise of Freddy Garcia in Spring Training more meaningful.
With Garcia pitching well and the former All-Star in Santana now on the team, this is a somewhat manageable obstacle for the Braves. While two pitchers could be lost for the season, two replacements have arrived. Still, it’s going to be difficult to fill the voids that will be left by the absences of Medlen and Beachy.
There is still a sliver of hope that Monday’s meeting with Dr. Andrews could reveal some positive news, but it doesn’t seem likely. The Braves need to brace themselves for the disaster that is developing on their starting rotation.