After seeing his fastball drop to the mid-80 mph range in his last inning Tuesday and sensing something in his surgically repaired elbow that concerned him, Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy is headed back to Dr. James Andrews’ clinic Monday.
Andrews did ligament reconstruction — aka “Tommy John” surgery — on Beachy’s elbow 14 months ago. He will look at the results of an MRI done Wednesday in Atlanta when Beachy was checked out by Braves orthopedist Dr. Xavier Duralde.
“We just didn’t like the way that last inning went in New York,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “So he flew down to see Dr. Duralde to get an MRI. And then on Monday he’s going to see Dr. Andrews. Who knows better than the guy who did the surgery?”
Mike Minor will start Sunday’s series finale against the Cardinals. He’ll still work on a full week of rest between starts, three days longer than usual.
The Braves planned to skip his turn to give Minor extra rest, since he’s approaching a career high in innings and the team has the luxury of a large division lead and six starting pitchers after Paul Maholm came off the disabled list to pitch Thursday against the Cardinals.
Beachy is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA in five starts since coming off the disabled list after a 13-month rehab and has a solid 2.73 ERA and .198 opponents’ average in his past four starts, with 18 strikeouts and three walks in 26 1/3 innings.
But during his sixth and final inning Tuesday against the Mets, the last two pitches he threw were fastballs clocked at 85 and 82 mph.
“(Beachy) said it just didn’t feel right, the elbow area,” Gonzalez said. “He goes, ‘You know that last pitch I threw? That was a fastball.’ I thought it was a change-up.”
Another Johnson: Utility player Elliot Johnson, added to the Braves’ 25-man roster Thursday, was excited about joining a first-place team after being claimed off waivers from the Royals.
“The body of work (the Braves) have put forth this year is really impressive,” said Johnson, 29, who hit just .179 with a .218 on-base percentage in 162 at-bats for Kansas City, but had 14 stolen bases without getting caught. “The season’s not over by any stretch, but they’ve obviously got a good jump-start to getting into the first series and being the 1-seed, if you will, and not having to play the play-in game.”
He snapped an 0-for-31 skid with a single in his first at-bat for the Braves Thursday and went 2-for-4 in the 6-2 loss to the Cardinals.
Johnson provides more big-league experience for the bench after the Braves lost infielder Tyler Pastornicky to knee surgery last week. Johnson has played 279 games in parts of four seasons with Tampa Bay and Kansas City, including 162 games at shortstop, 80 at second base, 10 apiece at third base and the outfield, and two at first base.
Rookie infielder Phil Gosselin was sent back to Triple-A Gwinnett.