More bad news for the Atlanta Braves: On the heels of news that starter Kris Medlen may need to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a damaged elbow ligament, word came out Friday that fellow starter Brandon Beachy may also be facing the season-ending elbow procedure. That comes from MLB.com's Braves beatwriter Mark Bowman, who reports that Beachy and Medlen are headed for a consultation with Dr. James Andrews next Monday.
Like Medlen, this would be the second reconstructive elbow surgery for the 27-year-old Beachy in his career. Beachy underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2012, midway through his second season for Atlanta, and returned to action in late July 2013. Beachy managed just five starts last season, however, before undergoing arthroscopic surgery in September to remove loose bodies from his elbow. Beachy came into the spring reportedly healthy, only to have biceps soreness knock him out of a spring start last Monday. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Dave O'Brien, initial examinations made Beachy believe that the soreness was nothing to worry about and had nothing to do with his ligament, but a stress X-ray taken later revealed an issue with his reconstructed UCL.
The loss of Beachy, on top of the projected loss of Medlen, would be a devastating blow to Atlanta's rotation. Medlen already seems certain to undergo Tommy John surgery; an MRI taken earlier this week revealed ligament damage in his right elbow, and the 28-year-old told reporters he was preparing himself to go under the knife once more. The Braves are also currently without starter Mike Minor, who has been slowed this spring due to shoulder soreness as a result of delaying his offseason workout due to surgery on his urethra. Atlanta made a move to patch the rotation by signing Ervin Santana to a one-year, $14.1 million deal on Wednesday, but there are no comparable free-agent starters still on the market to fill Beachy's spot on the roster. With Beachy, Medlen and Minor on the shelf, Atlanta's rotation now consists of Santana, Julio Teheran, Freddy Garcia, Alex Wood, and a likely battle for the last spot between David Hale and Aaron Northcraft. The Braves also have Gavin Floyd working his way back from, you guessed it, Tommy John surgery.