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Gavin Floyd fractures elbow

David Brown
Big League Stew
Wood to take Floyd's spot in Braves rotation
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Atlanta Braves head athletic trainer Jeff Porter escorts Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Gavin Floyd off their field during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, June 19, 2014, in Washington. The Braves won 3-0. Atlanta Braves right-hander Gavin Floyd left Thursday night's game against the Washington Nationals with an elbow injury in his ninth start since returning from Tommy John surgery. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Just nine starts into what has been successful comeback from Tommy John surgery, right-hander Gavin Floyd of the Atlanta Braves was dealt a cruel blow Thursday night. He has been diagnosed with a fractured olecranon, a sharp bone at the tip of the right elbow, and is heading back to Atlanta so team doctors can examine him.

Floyd said he had never heard of the olecranon, and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez could not pronounce it. The injury is similar to ones sustained by Joel Zumaya of the Tigers and Cal Eldred, then of the White Sox, earlier in the 2000s. Zumaya never threw another pitch after breaking his elbow, but he also had sustained a longer list of injuries before deciding to retire. Eldred pitched for a while with a screw in his elbow.

Floyd was working on a two-hit shutout through six innings against the Washington Nationals, needing only 64 pitches — one in the seventh — before having to come out.

''It was fine until that last pitch,'' Floyd said. ''I felt a pop.''

The Braves already had sustained Tommy John injuries to three pitchers, including starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. Left-hander Mike Minor has been working his way back from injuries, too.

Floyd has been a godsend; He lowered his ERA to 2.65, and has pitched better than anyone in the starting rotation other than Julio Teheran.

Three relievers finished off the Nationals, with the Braves winning 3-0 to pull within a half-game of the lead in the NL East.

Floyd had elbow ligament replacement surgery in May 2013 after hurling a total of 1,042 innings with the Chicago White Sox since 2007. He never was an All-Star in Chicago, but he would dependably take his turn in the rotation, making at least 29 starts from 2008-2012.

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter!

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