Minor has season-ending shoulder surgery
MIAMI -- Mike Minor has a better understanding of what caused the lingering left shoulder discomfort that he began feeling before the start of the 2014 season. Now, the Braves left-hander hopes to regain his successful form when he attempts to begin pitching again next year.
While performing an exploratory surgical procedure in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Dr. Neal ElAttrache repaired a slight tear of the labrum in Minor's left shoulder. The 27-year-old southpaw will miss the remainder of this season and then attempt to show the Braves -- and potentially other clubs -- where he stands during the early part of the offseason.
Minor was encouraged that the repairs were made without having to undergo a significantly intrusive procedure. He will undergo four to six months of rehab and begin a throwing program as early as September.
"Less is always more with the shoulder," said Minor's agent BB Abbott. "[Minor] definitely had some chronic inflammation that was being caused from that fraying he had in his labrum. [Dr. ElAttrache] said a lot of times things like that [don't] show up on the MRI. You don't know until you get in there."
After posting a 4.77 ERA while battling consistent shoulder discomfort through the 25 starts he made last year, Minor gained a $5.6 million salary for this season by winning his arbitration case in February. Two weeks later, he began feeling more discomfort and was shut down for the final month of Spring Training.
When the discomfort persisted every time he attempted to throw off of a mound in April, Minor began leaning toward undergoing this exploratory surgery with the hope that it would provide him the answers he did not receive from the multiple MRI exams over the course of the past year that showed no structural damage.
"Mike doesn't want to not have to pitch this year to earn money," Abbott said. "That is the last thing he wants. If there is anything that could have been handled differently, it's just that he could have been healthy. But that just wasn't in the cards. There was nothing that the Braves or anybody else did that wasn't right."
Minor should have time to make all of the necessary preparations to get back on the mound at some point in October or November. This would give the Braves time to evaluate his status and determine whether they want to keep him in their organization.
If the Braves choose to allow Minor to go through the arbitration process again next year, they will have to provide him a salary of at least $4.48 million (80 percent of his current salary) for 2016. They will also have the option to simply allow him to become a free agent.
Minor has been a member of the Braves organization since being selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. After enduring some growing pains, he started to live up to expectations midway through the 2012 season.
Cliff Lee and Clayton Kershaw were the only qualified left-handed starting pitchers to post a better ERA than Minor (2.90) from July 1, 2012, through the end of the '13 season.