Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy’s first game action in 11 months was a mixed bag of good and bad treats.
Beachy, in his first minor league injury rehab start, lasted four innings and tossed 70 pitches (35 strikes) on Friday night for the Gwinnett Braves at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville. Beachy allowed two hits — a home run and a double, two runs and issued three walks. He retired three batters, but uncorked a wild pitch that allowed a runner to score in the second inning.
“I feel good. It was fun,” Beachy said. “It was nice to be out there in a real game with fans in the stands and to compete.”
Beachy, continuing his rehab from Tommy John surgery, was scheduled to start for Gwinnett on May 19 against the Louisville Bats, but the game was postponed because of rain.
Beachy noted that he felt fine physically, but noted that it took him a lot longer than normal to find his groove. He was scheduled to go four innings or 65 pitches, whichever came first. Beachy threw 15 pitches in the first inning, 27 in the second, 16 in the third and 12 in the fourth.
“A little uncomfortable is what I would say,” he said of his first time back on the mound in nearly a year. “A little out of rhythm, out of sync. What usually takes a batter or a pitch or two, is taking me three batters or four pitches to kind of make the adjustments. That’s going to come. The feels going to come as I get more comfortable out there.
“The speed of the game is a lot quicker than the (bullpen sessions) I’ve been throwing in. I’ve got to slow myself down a little bit and that’ll help my rhythm.”
Beachy last pitched 3 2/3 innings for the Braves against Baltimore on June 16 before exciting after suffering a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Beachy was placed on the disabled list after the game and underwent surgery five days later.
Beachy’s command was off Friday. The 26-year-old threw quality pitches, but the ball got away from him at times. Beachy said he felt he threw some good and bad pitches and that his command would return with repetition at the plate.
Initially, he was concerned with how his arm would respond after sitting down between innings, but Beachy says he felt pretty good during the brief stretches.
“That’s something that has been in the back of my mind, how I’m going to respond in the time between innings, but it didn’t tighten up on me or anything like that,” Beachy said. “It felt pretty good physically. I couldn’t be happier with how it felt.”
Before the injury, Beachy was tied for the major league lead with a 1.98 ERA and led the majors with a .171 opponents’ batting average. In 13 games with the Braves last season, he was 5-5 with a 2.00 ERA. In 41 career starts in the majors, he’s 12-10 with a 3.07 ERA.
This was Beachy’s first time joining the G-Braves since 2011, when he pitched once on a minor league rehab assignment. His next start is scheduled for Wednesday, but there has been no word on where he will pitch. Beachy said he “anticipates his pitch count will be raised.”