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.
''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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