Medlen to have season-ending surgery; Beachy to get second opinion
Kris Medlen’s season is over, as the Braves pitcher will undergo a second Tommy John surgery on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Brandon Beachy is getting a second opinion to see if he’ll need the same elbow procedure.
The team announced Medlen’s impending surgery after both he and Beachy were examined by Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Fla.
While Andrews performed Medlen’s Aug. 2010 surgery and Beachy’s in June ’12, Beachy is heading to Los Angeles to get a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction — or Tommy John surgery as its commonly referred to — has a typical recovery time of 12 months.
Medlen will now miss a season in which he was expected to be both the Braves’ Opening Day starter and the leader of the rotation. He left his March 9 start against the Mets with what was originally called a right forearm strain. He was seen grabbing at his elbow before throwing a pitch, then walked off the field and to the dugout.
The 28-year-old has been among the game’s most dominant starters the past two seasons, with a 2.40 ERA since the 2012 All-Star break, which ranks behind only the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw among those with at least 250 innings.
Beachy, 27, exited last Monday’s game against Philadelphia after just two innings while complaining of tightness and discomfort in his throwing arm’s bicep. He told reporters at the time that he wasn’t concerned about the issue and believed he could loosen the muscle by continuing to pitch.
He wound undergo an MRI and stress X-ray that proved otherwise, showing some damage around the UCL in his elbow.
Amid the injuries to their staff, the Braves signed free-agent Ervin Santana to a $14.1 million deal. He’s not expected to be available until mid-April, and Mike Minor is also likely out for the first weeks of the season after dealing with shoulder discomfort while trying to make up for a month of inactivity after a urinary tract procedure.
Meanwhile, offseason signee Gavin Floyd is also unavailable until May following Tommy John surgery, leaving the Braves to open the season with a four-man rotation of Julio Teheran, Freddy Garcia, Alex Wood and David Hale. As general manager Frank Wren told FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, there are no plans to add another starter to that mix.