Buried in a Tweet that was “headlined” by the news that Mike Minor would be starting the team’s series finale against the Cardinals, the official Twitter account of the Atlanta Braves announced that right-handed starting pitcher Brandon Beachy will be making a trip that no pitcher wants to make.
LHP Mike Minor will start on Sunday in place of RHP Brandon Beachy. Beachy will see Dr. James Andrews on Monday.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 22, 2013
In addition to the news that Beachy will be visiting Dr. Andrews, the AJC’s Dave O’Brien stated that the issue was elbow-related (no surprise after Beachy’s Tommy John Surgery) and that his elbow “didn’t feel right” during the final stages of his last outing.
This news is certainly not positive for Beachy, as any visit to Dr. Andrews usually spells major issues in the form of surgery. It is too early to discuss “actuals” in this case, as no formal diagnosis will be made until after the Monday meeting, but another elbow surgery is certainly possible given Beachy’s history of elbow trouble.
In the immediate, the Braves fortunately have some depth, as Paul Maholm is poised to take the mound on Thursday night, and would immediately assume Beachy’s role in the rotation. In the long term, Beachy could be lost for days, weeks, or months will this issue, but the Braves, having virtually clinched a spot in this year’s playoffs, won’t take a sustained blow to their playoff aspirations.
Beachy is certainly part of the “foundation” going forward in the Braves’ rotation, but another potential surgery could spell disaster for his career at the worst case. We will know more soon, but in the meantime, Beachy supporters and Braves fans everywhere will be on pins and needles.