ATLANTA -- Brandon Beachy was overwhelmed with frustration this past summer. As the Braves pitcher neared the end of his journey back from Tommy John surgery, he experienced more elbow discomfort and ultimately had to undergo a "clean-up" surgery in late September.
But this offseason has provided Beachy encouragement and further reason to believe he will be at full strength when the Braves begin Spring Training in February. He regained full range of motion with his elbow in late October and has continued to make progress. Last week, Beachy was cleared to begin performing exercises to re-strengthen his upper body and shoulder.
Beachy expects to begin throwing in early January.
"I'm going to use some guidelines at first to help ease into throwing, but otherwise it's a normal offseason routine," Beachy said.
Normal has become a foreign term for Beachy, who underwent surgery on June 21, 2012. The 27-year-old hurler was targeted to return to Atlanta's starting rotation on June 18, 2013. But while making what was scheduled to be his final Minor League rehab start five days earlier, he was further burdened by inflammation that had been steadily building over the previous few weeks.
Beachy eventually joined the Braves' rotation on July 29. But he made just five more starts before he was once again sidelined because of inflammation. Dr. James Andrews, who performed the Tommy John surgery, found no structural damage when he examined Beachy on Aug. 22.
But when Beachy returned a month later, Andrews performed the follow-up surgery, which consisted of removing a bone spur and some other lose fragments that had been causing the inflammation in the pitcher's elbow.
If Beachy is able to return to full strength, he could prove to be a great asset in Atlanta's rotation. He was leading the Majors with a 2.00 ERA before he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and underwent surgery two summers ago.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.