Notes: Braves feel Powell's pain

Notes: Braves feel Powell's pain

ATLANTA -- As soon as Jay Powell fell to the ground in pain on Friday night, Braves manager Bobby Cox, along with most everybody in attendance at Turner Field, assumed the right-handed reliever had suffered a season-ending injury.

Now that it's been confirmed that Powell indeed broke his arm, the Braves and the rest of the baseball community can only hope that the well-liked veteran hurler will at least have a shot at making another comeback in his future.

Late Saturday afternoon, Jeff Porter, the Braves' head athletic trainer, announced that Powell had fractured the distal end of his humerus. Because he had undergone Tommy John surgery in July 2004, there were thoughts he might have suffered another elbow injury.

"I knew when I went out there it wasn't good," Cox said. "I thought right away that he broke his arm. He was in a lot of pain."

Powell will be re-evaluated by Dr. Xavier Duralde on Sunday afternoon and could have surgery as early as Monday. He spent Saturday resting at his Atlanta residence with his family.

"He had no indication this was coming," Porter said. "Obviously, nobody did. He had zero elbow discomfort. His elbow was fine."

Powell's injury occurred on his second pitch of the evening in the ninth inning against the Pirates on Friday. It sailed well wide of catcher Johnny Estrada and Powell immediately fell. The scene brought back memories of Dave Dravecky and Tony Saunders, who both broke their arms while delivering a pitch.

But Powell's injury was unique in a couple of ways. While his fracture was located just above his elbow, the ones suffered by Dravecky and Saunders were in the middle of their humerus bones.

Team physician Dr. Joe Chandler, Dr. James Andrews, who performed the ligament-replacement surgery on Powell last year, and Porter all conceded they had never known of a pitcher suffering a fracture on the distal end, which allows for the lever-like motion of the forearm.

"It's uncharted waters," Porter said. "I've never seen or heard of it before."

Powell, who signed with the Braves in the offseason so that he could rehab near his home with the Double-A affiliate in Pearl, Miss., was promoted to the Majors on July 15. He allowed just one hit and completed 3 1/3 innings in the five appearances he made for Atlanta.

"He was only here a couple of weeks," Cox said. "But it's amazing how the players loved him and pulled for him. He was lights out. He hadn't given up anything."

Cox said he had gained confidence in Powell's ability to get hitters out. His arrival earlier this month provided the Braves with the opportunity to trade ground-ball specialist Kevin Gryboski to Texas.

"I was going to start bringing [Powell] into all kinds of situations," Cox said. "He was like a Gryboski, only with breaking stuff."

Nerves of steel: When Macay McBride addressed the media after earning his first Major League save in impressive fashion on Friday night, he was, admittedly, a little bit nervous. Such is to be expected from a 22-year-old kid who had just made his Major League debut a week earlier.

What's not always expected is for a youngster to be able to come into a bases-loaded, one-out situation and preserve a one-run lead by retiring both batters he faced. But that's exactly what McBride did to earn that save and once again prove he could pitch, nervous energy and all.

"It doesn't matter if I'm pitching in high school or [Class] A Ball or here," McBride said. "Every time you get on the mound, there's butterflies. If they're not there one day, I need to hang them up. That's a long time away, because I've got enough butterflies to last a while."

McBride, who was the club's top selection in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, has registered three strikeouts and completed 2 1/3 scoreless innings since his arrival. Each of his three strikeouts, including Ryan Doumit on Friday and the Nationals' Ryan Church to end the eighth inning Thursday, have come in clutch situations.

McBride, who didn't become a reliever until the second half of last year, has a fastball that's clocked in the low 90s, along with a slider and curveball, which have both been described as excellent.

"He's been a good acquisition for us," Cox said. "He's done the job every time out."

More rookies: Roman Colon, who replaces Powell on the active roster, and Kyle Davies were both recalled from Triple-A Richmond on Saturday. The Braves again have 10 rookies on their 25-man roster. Davies, who started Saturday night's game, McBride, Jeff Francoeur, Brian McCann and Blaine Boyer are the Georgia natives among that crop of rookies.

Coming Up: John Smoltz (11-5, 2.62 ERA) will oppose Josh Fogg (5-6, 4.93 ERA) in the third game of the current four-game series against the Pirates on Sunday afternoon. Smoltz hasn't lost since June 6.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.