Jun 20, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT
Braves pitcher Gavin Floyd – an Annapolis, Md. native – was cruising through his start against the Nationals on Thursday night, enjoying his best outing of the season. The 31-year-old was facing Jayson Werth in the first at-bat of the bottom of the seventh inning, having already thrown six scoreless frames with two hits allowed on just 63 pitches.
Then he felt a pop. On his first delivery to Werth – a 77 mile per hour curveball – Floyd felt something wrong in his right elbow. He looked down and saw it was swollen. He didn’t feel any pain necessarily, but knew something was wrong.
Floyd signaled to the Braves training staff and was promptly removed from the game. The same elbow underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013, and there was no reason to take a chance.
Little did Floyd know, however, that his new injury would having nothing to do with Tommy John, at least that’s what Braves doctors believe at this point. No, Floyd had fractured his elbow, specifically the olecranon bone in his right arm.
It is a rare injury for a pitcher and one Floyd had never heard of.
“It was a weird spot,” Floyd said. “It was a little sore before, not in the area that I had surgery so I figured that it was just things that were a little sore. But it was fine until that last pitch, then I felt a pop. It wasn’t painful, at least, but I wasn’t sure so I asked to come out.”
Floyd originally thought it was scar tissue, as a sort of bulb-like area swelled up on the outside of his elbow. Pictures were taken from the game broadcast and passed around on Twitter. The injury looked gruesome from afar.
Once the X-rays came in, Floyd realized it was serious. He still, however, does not know how long it will keep him out. Whether he can return this season or not, the Braves do not know.
“It’s one pitch, one pitch. What a shame,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “The guy comes back all the way from Tommy John. And it’s two different things, one doesn’t affect the other. I think that in the big picture he’s going to be okay. But again, let him fly back to Atlanta and have our guys look at it.”
Floyd was born in Annapolis and went to Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore. Pitching close to his hometown, Floyd had nearly his entire family in attendance. His wife and kid, his parents, and even his in-laws. Now, instead of spending time with them this weekend after his start, he will fly back to Atlanta in the morning to be reevaluated.
Floyd, though, is thankful to at least see them on Thursday night.
“It will be nice to see them and have support from them,” he said.
Despite a big win for Atlanta, one that turned the page after their sweep at home against the Phillies, Braves players took on a somber tone in the locker room after their 3-0 win over the Nats. Serious pitching injuries have been a theme for them this season, and Floyd is just another to add to the list.
“I don’t think I’ve seen so many swings and misses like that in a while,” Freddie Freeman said. “Gavin had his A-stuff tonight. It’s just too bad the way it ended.”
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