Braves starting pitcher Brandon Beachy will find out Monday if he is going to need his second Tommy John surgery in the past two years. (Reuters)
ATLANTA — Pitcher Brandon Beachy’s arm injury appears to be far worse than he and the Braves initially believed, and Beachy could find out Monday that he needs a second Tommy John elbow surgery and another year-long rehabilitation.
The Braves face the almost unimaginable, but quite real, possibility that pitchers Kris Medlen and Beachy could both find out Monday when they see Dr. James Andrews that they need to have a second ligament-transplant surgery — aka “Tommy John” surgery — in their pitching elbows.
Medlen has already come to grips with the fact that he is almost certainly going to need the surgery, and now Beachy knows that he might also need to have Tommy John surgery for the second time — and his third elbow surgery overall — in a span of less than two years. That’s assuming that Andrews would even recommend having so many surgeries within such a short period of time.
“Lot of frustration,” Beachy said Friday. “Really, really frustrated.”
After leaving Monday’s game against the Phillies after only two innings due to what he thought was only biceps tightness and inflammation, Beachy had tests done this week that showed a possible ligament tear.
He had Tommy John surgery in June 2012, then an arthroscopic procedure to remove a bone chip in September 2013.
“I was pretty confident when I talked to you guys after the game Monday,” said Beachy, who had said after coming out of the game early that he wasn’t concerned, that he’d been assured his ligament was fine, and that he was only experiencing normal type of soreness associated with coming back from surgery.
“I was being honest,” he said. “That’s what I was told. Now, it looks like it could be something else. Got to find out more.”
When asked if it could be the ligament again, he said, “Could be.”
GARCIA STRUGGLING: Freddy Garcia knows his past couple of starts haven’t exactly been confidence-boosters for Braves fans, but the veteran pitcher wasn’t worried after giving up six hits and four runs (three earned) in four innings of Thursday’s 11-0 Grapefruit League loss to the Cardinals.
“I give up a lot of runs lately, but I’m fine,” said Garcia, 37, who has allowed 12 hits and 10 runs (nine earned) in 6 2/3 innings over his past two starts. “It’s different when the bell rings (for the regular season). Spring-training games are different. I just need to pitch better in my next couple of starts.”
Garcia came to camp as a candidate for the fifth-starter job, along with talented young left-hander Alex Wood. But because of injuries to other starters, now both will be needed in the rotation at the start of the season.
After pitching five perfect innings in his first two starts, Garcia was charged with six hits, six runs and four walks in 2 2/3 innings of his third start Saturday against the Astros. He was told just before that game that his wife, Glendys, had gone into labor and was taken to a Miami-area hospital, and Garcia said he rushed to get through his outing so he could drive to Miami to be with her.
Glendys and baby Sebastian — Garcia’s third child — were doing well and attended Thursday’s game on a windy day in Jupiter.
“I felt better, but it’s hard to pitch in this kind of weather,” Garcia said. “No excuse, but my ball is moving all over the place. For me, I have to throw first-pitch strikes. The last couple of innings I wasn’t able to do that.”
Once a hard-throwing ace, Garcia has lost about 10 mph on his fastball and must rely on finesse, change of speeds and location. With the wind gusting from 20-30 mph throughout the game, Garcia said his less-than-overpowering pitches were affected, and he couldn’t get ahead in counts the way he needs to to be successful.
When told what Garcia said about the wind, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, “I tend to agree with him. … It was a tough day to evaluate anything really.”