CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Braves reliever Arodys Vizcaino avoided Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery when he seemed destined for it two summers ago. The right-hander can only hope to achieve the same fate after he visits with Dr. James Andrews on Monday.
Vizcaino has been sidelined since feeling right elbow discomfort while pitching in the March 3 Grapefruit League opener. An MRI exam performed last week showed inflammation. The Braves are describing his ailment as ulnar neuritis.
After being diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow during the 2010 season, Vizcaino rested for a few months and was throwing 95-mph fastballs again in September in instructional league.
Andrews will likely evaluate whether Vizcaino could once again avoid Tommy John surgery with rest. If the 21-year-old reliever undergoes the operation, he will miss the upcoming season.
Vizcaino -- rated by MLB.com as the Braves' second-best prospect and 36th in the entire Minor Leagues -- entered Spring Training with a chance to begin the season in Atlanta's bullpen. The Braves converted him to a relief role at the Double-A level in July and promoted him to the Majors one month later. He proved effective in August before showing signs of fatigue in September.