"I've had elbow annoyance or elbow soreness before, but nothing like this," said the sidewinding Australian righty, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 12 with a right elbow strain. Further examination by Dr. James Andrews confirmed that the ulna collateral ligament in Moylan's elbow was compromised by a bone spur, which could threaten his season.
Moylan said he first felt something in his elbow after retiring Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman on April 11. He would retire the next two batters easily to record his first save after inheriting the closer role, but he knew something was wrong the next morning.
"I woke up the next day and I just couldn't straighten my arm," Moylan said prior to the Braves' Friday night game with the Dodgers. "I couldn't bend my arm. I couldn't tie my tie, I couldn't comb my hair, I couldn't brush my teeth. It was tough."
While he knew something was wrong, he didn't know how much was wrong until the next day, when he flew back to Atlanta and met with the Braves' medical staff.
"Once I saw their faces and I saw their reactions I thought this could be trouble," Moylan said.
Then came the visit to Dr. Andrews, which didn't do anything for his state of mental health.
"When you walk into his office and you see all the posters and the signed memorabilia that says, 'Thanks for the reconstruction,' you start thinking, 'Holy cow, what's going on?'" Moylan said with a smile. "But he's had his opinion and it's the same as the Braves' medical staff thought -- there's a spur in there but, hopefully, we can treat it in the next couple of days and see how it feels after that.
"It's lot of stretching, a lot of exercising with bands," Moylan added. "The problem that I had was the range of motion with my elbow had gone. So it was all about getting the range of motion back, straightening my arm, bending my arm. It's just keeping my arm straight with weights at the end of it."
The combination of treatment and rest has made a noticeable difference.
"From Sunday to now, the difference is night and day," he said. "I feel like a completely new man. They're optimistic that with treatment, within the next seven to 10 days, that I can maybe play catch and see how it feels but I'll just have to wait and see."
Moylan, who led all Major League rookies with a 1.80 ERA and a .208 opponents batting average last season, had a minuscule 1.59 ERA in seven appearances in 2008. He also had a streak of six consecutive scoreless appearances after allowing a walk-off home run in the season opener to Washington's Ryan Zimmerman. Fittingly, Zimmerman was a strikeout victim for the final out in Moylan's save on April 11.
Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.