Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field.
It’s a small step – but the first on the road to recovery for Brandon Beachy. The Braves right-hander, five days removed from ligament-transplant surgery, will exchange his soft cast and sling for a simple brace tomorrow.
“It sucks, obviously, but it’s something I can’t control now,” Beachy said after undergoing ‘Tommy John’ surgery Thursday to repair a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. “It’s done and now I’m just looking forward. It’s not fun watching these guys on TV but I’ll make it through.”
Beachy said he was told by doctors that the injury was not new. He had been pitching with the issue for months, possibly years, before coming out in the fourth inning of his start against the Orioles on June 16.
“It wasn’t something I did that night,” Beachy said. “It just got worse and got the point and it felt like it was going to come all the way off. It didn’t though. … There was discomfort. I’ve been dealing with stuff. I definitely didn’t think it would come to this.”
Beachy’s mother was in town over the weekend to help him get around with the use of only his left arm.
Beachy, 25, had emerged as an All-Star candidate after going 5-5 with a 2.00 ERA in his first 13 starts, tied for the National League ERA lead and leading the majors with a .171 opponents’ batting average.
Several pitchers on the Braves’ staff have returned from the surgery, which will require nearly a year of recovery. The procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews. Beachy pointed to Tim Hudson, Kris Medlen and Jonny Venters has players he will lean on during his rehabilitation.
“It makes me more excited,” Beachy said of the success he was having this season before the injury. “I was able to do what I was doing. Hopefully next year, I’ll be good and healthy and can do even better. I’m excited for that chance. To know what it’s like to pitch pain free again.”
Beachy said it will help to be around the clubhouse as he goes through his rehabilitation. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez spoke to Beachy Tuesday after the team returned from a six-game road trip.
“The guys that do well after that procedure are the guys who have a good work ethic, good work habits,” Gonzalez said. “He is that type of guy. … I expect a full recovery 10-11 months down the road. He is the right guy to get through it.”