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Braves’ Floyd breaks elbow vs. Nats

Jun 20, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

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.”

  1. NatsLady - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    Hmmmmm…. as I suspected, he felt sore even before the actual break and still pitched his arm off. Part of me respects that.

    Part of me wonders if he’d notified trainers that he felt sore if the injury was preventable. Maybe. But maybe not, at least not if he wanted to snap those curves the way he did. He could have rested a week and it might still have happened, because we don’t know that much about how the surgery and recovery affected his mechanics and the strength of his bones.

    • pburm9qp - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      I don’t think that there is any way to predict breaking a bone in your elbow while pitching. Also, doesn’t it seem a little ridiculous to imply that there is a correlation between ligament surgery and the strength of bones?

      • NatsLady - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        Yeah, I’m not implying, I’m saying I don’t know, and clearly Gavins didn’t know either. But I wonder. Everything is so connected. They’re saying it’s a rare injury. But he pitched with a sore elbow. Was there already a hairline fracture that broke under pressure?

    • Hiram Hover - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      TJ surgery, as I understand it, involves drilling a hole in the bone so the replacement tendon/ligament can be attached.

      Even if we were competent medical professionals (ok, I’m not, but maybe others here are), this seems like such a rare injury that I don’t think there are any big conclusions to draw.

      Can anyone think of another pitcher who had it post-TJ? (Some folks have mentioned Joel Zumaya, but he broke this bone first, and later had TJ, not vice versa).

  2. Sonny G 10 - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    I’m sorry to see any player injured like that, but can’t help hoping somehow we will benefit from it. If our players don’t get their heads out of their [expletive deleted] it won’t matter anyway.

  3. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    We were 6-13 against the Braves last year. We’re 1-6 so far this year. That means we have some wins coming to us. Let’s start that tonight.

  4. ArVAFan - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    Following up from a question on last night’s game: did R Zim incorrectly judge the blooper to left? In my judgment, no. The ball took a bit of an odd trajectory: he seemed to be running to where the ball should have fallen on a standard arc, but it died more quickly and fell in. I think the phase is “dying quail?” Could have been the wind–there was a pretty stiff breeze last night.

    FWIW, Span had the same thing happen to a ball hit towards center–it fell short of where I expected it to (from my perch up in 313).

    Anyone who was down the 3rd base line have a different perspective (pun intended)?

  5. micksback1 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    here in lies the difference with the Braves and the Nats, the Braves who already lost 2 pitchers to TJ surgery will not make excuses, and they will probably continue to kick our asses.

    • David Proctor - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      And yet they’re in second place.

    • Hiram Hover - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      Can you think of Nats players who are making excuses–or are you confusing the fans and the players?

      I think you’ll find a lot of bad behavior, hysterics, etc from fans on both sides that the players, thankfully, don’t duplicate.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        It’s Magical Thinking, HH. No point trying to bring logic to it.

    • chaz11963 - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      The Braves have had some injuries, but I would challenge you to find any other MLB team that have had as many key players out for the lengths of time as the Nats. No one is making excuses here, but try taking the 2-4 best hitters in any teams lineup for extended time and see how they do. It’s just reality that injuries have affected the Nats offensive production. And, a testament to their talent level that they are in 1st place even after all of that!

      • Nats Amore - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        IMO it is hard to draw a quantitative conclusion on whether it is worse to be down 40% of your starting rotation or down 2-4 position players. But good starting pitchers are hard to find at the last minute, so you end up with the Al Harangs of the world as replacements. Conversely, if you have former All-Stars such as McLouth on your bench, in theory you should be able to cope better, assuming those players play up to their level.

      • RPrecupjr - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:44 PM

        Nats Amore (nice name, btw), the difference is a rotation guy plays in onlt one game in a four-game series such as this. The position players would be playing in EVERY game, so that makes it more significant. For example: Brandon Beachy would be pitching tomorrow night, but is on the DL. Harper and Ramos would be playing tomorrow night, but they’re on the DL, so that’s a wash. Mike Minor IS pitching tonight, but Harper and Ramos still aren’t playing because they’re on the DL, advantage Braves with their regular rotation guy.

        Of course, we’re all hoping that that advantage is only on paper and not a reality.

  6. thelatencn - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    I’m sorry Floyd broke his elbow. I really am. But if he was going to break his elbow, I wish he’d done it in, say, the 2nd inning instead of the 7th.

  7. ehay2k - Jun 20, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    Terrible news, and as much as I dislike the Barves, I’d never wish this on anyone nor would I applaud the injury.
    I do wonder how other pitches well view the Barves now: Will the superstitious decide not to play in Atlanta? Will others director that the Barves can handle and/or diagnose injuries to their pitchers and decide they’d rather not go there?

    Just as the JW signing helped legitimize the Nats from a want-to-win perspective, this could harm the Barves from a player-protection standpoint.

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