The worst news still might be coming for right-hander Kris Medlen, but what he knows now about his sore right elbow isn't good.
The Atlanta Braves announced Tuesday that an MRI revealed Medlen has sustained damage to a ligament in his elbow. Reporter David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constiution writes that Medlen will seek a second opinion from noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
Medlen left his appearance Sunday after grabbing his arm on a pitch in the fourth inning. Medlen's MRI happened Monday, but the results of Tommy John patients can be difficult to read and the Braves took extra time. Medlen's elbow was repaired in 2010 by Andrews, and he has bounced back to post a 2.47 ERA in 43 starts since becoming a regular in the rotation in July 2012. It's unusual for pitchers to need a second elbow ligament replaced, but it happens. Braves reliever Jonny Venters is trying to come back from the same issue.
The Braves have a troubling situation with their pitching. Not only is Medlen injured, but right-hander Brandon Beachy and left-hander Mike Minor have experienced problems this spring. Beachy's situation is particularly worrisome. Braves general manager Frank Wren knows what's up, and the team is said to be looking at free agent right-hander Ervin Santana.
“It’s worrisome, let’s put it that way,” Wren said of the recent pitching injuries. “We still feel like we have the makings of a very good pitching staff, but you need depth at this level, because you just never know what’s going to happen, and we’ve seen that over the last two days, how your depth can go to a shortage. And so we’re evaluating, we’re exploring other opportunities, and that’s all we can do at this point.”
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