Brandon Beachy’s strained oblique felt as bad as he expected Saturday, and the Braves pitcher was already thinking about what’s ahead after a stint on the disabled list.
“I wish I would have woke up this morning and it was better, but unfortunately it’s not,” said the rookie right-hander, injured while striking out in the second inning of Friday’s 5-4 loss to Philadelphia.
“However long this keeps me out – I have no idea, hopefully not long — it’s going to be a mental battle as much as it is physical, to get myself ready to go again.”
The Braves were considering any of three Triple-A Gwinnett candidates– Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Rodrigo Lopez – to replace Beachy, who could miss at least a few weeks, though no timetable for his return has been set.
Because of off days in the schedule, a replacement starter will be needed only once (Wednesday) until May 31.
Beachy was 1-1 with a 3.85 ERA in eight starts. He had a 2.98 ERA before giving up three runs in two innings Friday.
He felt a “tearing sensation” when he struck out to end the second inning, then threw two warmup pitches between innings before conceding he couldn’t continue.
“A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to someone who was saying how they used to think, ‘You’re out with an oblique?’” Beachy said. “And then this person had one. Then they knew. That’s what I said. Now I know. I felt like I could just muscle through it. No, I sure couldn’t. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t.”
The Braves didn’t rush to put him on the 15-day DL because they won’t need a replacement starter until Wednesday, and already planned to bring reliever Scott Proctor from Triple-A on Sunday. That’s the first day (May 15) they were permitted to add Proctor to the major league team, after releasing him in spring and re-signing him to a minor league contract.
Proctor can take Beachy’s spot for now, postponing the 25-man roster move the Braves would’ve had to make on Sunday to open a spot for the reliever.
Minor is scheduled to start Sunday for Gwinnett, and could be scratched from that start if he’s to be brought up by the Braves on Wednesday to start the series opener at Arizona, which was Beachy’s next scheduled turn. Minor is 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA in six starts at Gwinnett. Beachy beat out the left-hander in the fifth-starter competition during spring training.
Minor didn’t pitch well in a spot start for the Braves on April 6 at Milwaukee, allowing five runs, seven hits and four walks in 4-1/3 innings.
Teheran is 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA in six starts at Gwinnett, the most recent on Thursday. The 20-year-old phenom made his major league debut May 7 in a spot start at Philadelphia, where he was charged with four hits, three runs and two walks in 4-2/3 innings of a 3-0 loss.
Lopez, 35, is 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA in seven starts at Gwinnett, and last pitched on Wednesday. Unlike Minor and Teheran, Lopez is not on the 40-man roster.
For Beachy, the injury comes at a time when he was just beginning to establish himself as a solid major league starting pitcher. Before giving up three runs on six hits – including Ryan Howard’s three-run homer – in two innings Friday, Beachy had posted a 1.44 ERA and .140 opponents’ average over his previous four starts.
He had allowed just 12 hits and four walks with 28 strikeouts in 25 innings over that four-start stretch.