ST. LOUIS -- As Brandon Beachy was preparing to return from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in late July, there was reason to wonder who would end up being the odd man out in Atlanta's starting rotation.
Since then, Tim Hudson has suffered a season-ending right leg injury and Beachy has developed right elbow inflammation for the second time in the past two months. As a result, the abundance of starting pitching depth that existed a month ago has been depleted.
In an attempt to restore some depth and create some insurance, the Braves acquired Freddy Garcia from the Orioles on Friday in exchange for cash considerations. This announcement was made approximately an hour before the club made the expected move to place Beachy on the disabled list.
While Beachy's situation influenced the decision to make this trade, Garcia was not acquired with the expectation he will definitely fill a roster spot. The 36-year-old veteran pitcher will pitch for Triple-A Gwinnett until the big league roster expands on Sept. 1. He will then likely come to Atlanta to either make spot starts or serve as a long reliever.
"This guy has been around and he knows how to navigate through a Major League lineup," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think it's a great pickup. You can't have too many of those guys. We'll see how he pitches in Gwinnett. If he can come up and help us in September, then by all means let's do that."
Garcia posted a 5.77 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts) for Baltimore before being outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk in late June. In 13 starts with Norfolk, he compiled a 2.84 ERA and recorded 61 strikeouts in 82 1/3 innings.
Beachy remains confident he will pitch again this year. But even if he does not return, the Braves already have five starting pitchers, not including Garcia.
Garcia's availability to make spot starts could at least allow the Braves to follow through with their plan to give each member of their current rotation a chance to skip at least one start over the next couple of weeks in an attempt to get refreshed before the regular season's stretch run and postseason.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.