After losing two starters to season-ending injuries during spring training, the Atlanta Braves’ pitching staff had yet to suffer a long-term injury this season. In all likelihood, that no longer appears to be the case.
Braves starter Gavin Floyd left the game in the seventh inning of Thursday’s game with severe swelling in his right elbow. After the elbow was examined by a Braves trainer, the right-hander was removed from the game. The Braves later announced that Floyd will be sent to the disabled list after X-rays revealed a fracture of the olecranon (the bony point of the elbow).
Floyd will be evaluated by team doctors in Atlanta on Friday as to the extent of the injury. The team’s corresponding roster move will also be announced on Friday.
Even from the looks of the elbow on television, it was clear that Floyd’s elbow was in bad shape:
Floyd, of course, has dealt with arm problems in the recent past. On May 7 of last season, after just five starts, Floyd tore his ulnar collateral ligament and underwent Tommy John surgery. After recovery and rehab, Floyd joined the Braves rotation after signing a one-year free agent contract this offseason. He made his season debut on May 6 after missing the first month of the season to continue rehabbing the ligament.
Any elbow injury is going to be treated with extreme caution. Floyd said after the game that he didnât feel any pain, but heard something and experienced a weird sensation in his elbow.
"That’s significant,â Floyd said about his broken elbow. âIt was a weird spot. It was a little sore before, (but) not in the area I had surgery. So I figured it was just things that were a little sore. It was fine until that last pitch. I felt a pop."
Atlanta has two natural starters working outside the rotation that could serve as replacements for Floyd in the rotation: David Hale and Alex Wood.
And while Hale is currently working in the bullpen after starting four games, left-hander Alex Wood is the obvious choice when he’s ready. Wood was sent back to Triple-A Gwinnett on June 10 to stretch out his arm and make the transition back to the rotation anyways, and the topic of which Braves starter was going to get moved out of the rotation was already a point of contention for Atlanta. Now, due to the unfortunate injury, that decision seems to have been made for them, at least for the immediate future. Wood
Wood made seven starts at the beginning of the season for the Braves, posting a 3.00 ERA and nearly an 8-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 45 innings pitched. He was into a relief role when Floyd returned from the disabled list in May in order to limit his innings in just his second professional season, but when he’s been on the mound he’s looked like one of the brightest young pitching stars in the National League.
The Braves may just need Wood sooner than expected.