Muts: You have to believe that bad things happen when the Braves play the Mets. Jonathan Niese (a Met) sent Jason Heyward to the disabled list last year after beaning him in the face with a pitch. Eric Young Jr. (a Met) stepped on Tim Hudson’s foot last year, ending his season. In 2010, Kris Medlen injured his arm, which eventually led to Tommy John surgery, while pitching against the Mets. And now another potential injury while the Braves are playing the Mets.
How about the odds: With the potential setbacks in the starting rotation, how will the odds-makers adjust the Braves chances of winning the World Series. The MLB odds for Atlanta currently stand at 20-to-1, same as the Dodgers’ odds. Too early for that kind of talk, isn’t it? Luckily a team’s spring record doesn’t count, because the Braves current 2-and-9 spring record is the worst in baseball.
Medlen leaves with injury: There’s no point in sugar-coating it, this looks bad. Medlen abruptly walked off the mound after a pitch in the fourth inning of Sunday’s spring training start. Here is a GIF of the apparent injury.
The obvious concern here is that it’s Medlen’s elbow ligament, which would lead to another Tommy John surgery. The initial diagnosis is a “forearm strain.” Medlen will be reevaluated by the Braves doctor’s today. Fredi Gonzalez tried to put a happy face on it:
“We’re going to wait and see. Any time a pitcher walks off the mound and meets you in the foul line, you worry about that kind of stuff. But after all of that kind of settled down, we’re optimistic that it’s nothing major.”
Remember Luis: In mid-April last year Luis Avilan went to a heap on the field after a pitch and had to be helped off the field with what appeared to be a knee or leg injury. Everyone assumed the worst, but that turned out to just be a cramp, and he didn’t even spend any time on the disabled list. Certainly it’s more worrisome when the injury is the pitching arm, but let’s hope there’s reason for optimism.
Another pitcher on the mend: Mike Minor has not made it into a game yet this spring while recovering from off-season surgery to his … member. Any potential Medlen injury makes Minor’s return to the mound even more urgent. Here is GM Frank Wren speaking about the plan they have for Minor:
“He feels good,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “We’ve still got to play it by ear (on whether be ready to start season). It’s going to be close. But we’re not going to do anything foolish to speed it up for one start to make it work. We’ll do what’s right for him and for us.”
The Braves early season schedule allows them to use just four starters — they have two off-days over the course of the first eight days of the season. After that though, it’s all hands on deck as they play 16 consecutive days in a row.
Just make baby: Freddy Garcia had a rough start on Saturday, allowing six runs in less than three innings of work. Of course, his wife was apparently going into labor in a Miami hospital… so we’ll chalk the poor control in that start up to a major distraction.