Beachy to get checkup from Dr. Andrews
ST. LOUIS -- Brandon Beachy knew something was not right as his fastball velocity suddenly dipped during the sixth inning of Tuesday night's game against the Mets. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez gained the same sense when Beachy informed him the 82-mph pitch Juan Lagares popped up to end the inning was a fastball.
For now, the Braves are crossing their fingers with the hope that this was just one of those unexpected bumps in the road pitchers encounter after returning from Tommy John surgery. But the club will gain a clearer indication when Beachy spends time on Monday visiting with Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgical procedure 14 months ago.
Beachy said he is confident he will pitch again this year. But for his own peace of mind, he wants to find out why his arm began to tighten during Tuesday's fifth inning. He likened the discomfort to what he felt when he was shut down with right elbow inflammation in June, just a few days before making what was supposed to be his first big league start since the surgery.
"I'd like to know what is causing it," Beachy said. "That is the reason we're going to go see Andrews on Monday and hopefully figure this out."
Beachy returned to Atlanta on Thursday to be examined by Dr. Xavier Duralde. Gonzalez said an MRI exam was not performed because the images often prove inconclusive on individuals who have already had their ulnar cruciate ligament replaced via this elbow surgery.
"When you do an MRI with a guy who has already had Tommy John, you don't even know what you're looking at," Gonzalez said. "It's like looking at the map of the New York City subway."
In the five starts he has made since coming off the disabled list on July 29, Beachy has compiled a 4.50 ERA and consistently thrown fastballs that have registered 91-92 mph.
Beachy threw a 91-mph fastball to Marlon Byrd during Tuesday's sixth inning. But just one of the five fastballs he threw to the next three batters registered higher than 85 mph, and it was clocked at 87.
"It just started tightening up on me and just kept getting worse," Beachy said. "I was trying to throw through it. It started to feel a lot like it did the first time before I got shut down [in June]. I started losing control and I looked up and saw a bunch of 85s. The last one there, I got the guy to pop up. I looked up and it said 82-mph changeup. I was like, 'I could have swore that was a four-seamer I threw.'"
The Braves had planned to give Mike Minor some rest by skipping him during this current turn through their rotation and starting him on Tuesday night against the Indians. But Minor will now start in Beachy's place on Sunday, with three extra days' rest.
"I didn't really need it," Minor said. "It was just kind of precautionary, I guess. Everybody could use some extra rest, especially this time of year."