Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Brandon Beachy left his Saturday night start in the middle of the fourth inning due to what the team is calling a recurrence of right elbow soreness. The team also reports that Beachy will have an MRI as soon as one can be scheduled. Beachy had been pitching a brilliant game up until the fourth, when he began to miss his mark on pitches. With two outs in the inning he walked a batter for the first, and what turned out to be the only base runner he allowed.
Fredi Gonzalez came out with the trainer and immediately pulled Beachy from the game. He went directly to the clubhouse. Beachy was replaced in the game by Anthony Varvaro, who allowed Beachy's runner to score and give Baltimore the lead.
The most likely scenario here is that the Braves put Beachy on the 15-day disabled list. They had already shuffled their rotation to give Beachy a couple of extra days rest before today's start. Right elbow soreness could just mean he needs some time to rest his arm, and we won't speculate that it could mean something else more drastic. This injury to Beachy is a potentially devastating one for the Braves, as Brandon had been the Braves most effective starter, and is leading the league in ERA.
My guess is that if the Braves place Beachy on the disabled list, then Kris Medlen would take over his spot in the rotation. Meds is already stretched out, having made several starts in Gwinnett, and only returning to the Majors yesterday.
If the Braves were to reach into their minor league system to replace Beachy, then Julio Teheran would be the most likely candidate, but he too left his start tonight after four innings, having thrown just 86 pitches. I'm not sure if that was just caution with his arm, or a sign of an injury.
Jair Jurrjens, who has already made nine starts at Gwinnett, could also be called upon, but the Braves may view him as an option of last resort at this point. Certainly if he could return and be effective, that would help the Braves bullpen, which Medlen was recalled to strengthen. Medlen's departure from the bullpen could leave the team looking to trade for a reliever. If Beachy is out for an extended period of time, that could indicate that the Braves might be willing to deal for a starting pitcher.
We'll have to see what the news is with Beachy's arm and see what the Braves decide to do, but what looked like excellent pitching depth to begin the season is quickly dwindling.