The end of Spring Training was no more nice to the Atlanta Braves than the beginning. Losing Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to Tommy John surgery, the team was forced to scramble and put together a starting rotation that the team believed could make it through the 2014 season successfully. However, a few days ago, relief pitcher Cory Gearrin went down with an “elbow sprain” that is most likely going to require Tommy John surgery.
This injury isn’t as big of a deal to the Braves as the injuries to Medlen and Beachy were. Gearrin has been in and out of the Braves’ bullpen over the past three seasons with inconsistent success. In those three seasons, he’s only pitched 69.1 innings, yet tallied an ERA of 4.28. He hasn’t been a high-strikeout kind of pitcher, and gave up more hits than he had strikeouts in 2013.
What the Braves lose in Gearrin is a guy who has filled a hole in the bullpen when needed to a decent level. He hasn’t been extremely good over the course of his major league career (despite a good year in 2012). but the Braves keep putting him on the major league roster. He has a funky, sidearm delivery that is a good motion seeing that he doesn’t have dominant strikeout stuff, yet the delivery could be the reason why he will miss the 2014 season.
Gearrin’s role will be easy for the Braves to fill. They have been looking at pitchers all spring with the intent on filling their bullpen from within, and it is almost certain that Gus Schlosser and Ian Thomas will make the Opening Day roster. With that knowledge, the team will be able to fill in his bullpen spot with a decent-to-good pitcher who can come in and get outs when the team needs them.