When it rains it pours…
As if suffering another road loss in what has become a woeful storyline in a frustrating season was not enough for the Atlanta Braves, they have now lost Tom Glavine for at least 15-days with a left elbow strain.
The soreness in Glavine’s elbow was revealed after the game to have been problematic since early May, with the 42-year old pitching in pain over his past seven starts. Now the Braves have a serious question that may only be answered following an MRI in Atlanta – which could come as early as Wednesday.
Atlanta is already trying to cope with the loss of John Smoltz, who underwent season-ending surgery on Tuesday in Birmingham, Alabama. Without Smoltz, Glavine and Mike Hampton, who is still yet to make a start this season after a successful Spring Training showing, the Braves have some serious holes in their starting rotation.
So what does this mean?
Well, it’s clear the Braves have more questions than answers. Jo-Jo Reyes and Jair Jurrjens were battling to become the fifth starter in Orlando this Spring, but both are now key members of a tattered Braves starting rotation. The Braves now rely on Tim Hudson to continue to anchor the staff as the lone veteran presence. Chuck James was dreadful in five starts (2-3 with a 8.22 ERA) and Jorge Campillo has filled in void over the past four weeks that was created by injuries and James’ ineffectiveness.
One answer could be 24-year old right-hander Charlie Morton (5-2 with a 2.05 ERA in 13 games for Triple-A Richomond). Morton was on the prospect bubble before having a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League last season. His numbers this year are highly respectable, holding opponents homerless and limiting them to just a .181 average while racking up 72 strikeouts in 79 innings of work.
Morton seems the most likely internal candidate to get a shot at filling in for Glavine, if the Braves go down to the farm. There’s no doubt that the injury to Glavine could drive up the asking price of any pitching to be had on an almost non-existant trade market. Most teams have not decided whether or not to be buyers or sellers at this point, and alot could change before now and the non-waiver trade deadline of July 31.
Any way you slice it, this latest development could not have come at a worse time. While elbow injuries at any age are a cause for concern, the Braves could find themselves waving good bye to not one, but two, legendary hurlers in the same week.
Till next time,