ATLANTA -- Brandon Beachy returned to Turner Field on Tuesday determined to remain positive as he prepares to travel the long road to recovery from Tommy John surgery.
"I'm going to do everything I need to do, and everything they tell me to do to try to get back. I'm looking forward to pitching without pain again," Beachy said.
While Beachy has been known to remain somber even after completing what appeared to be promising starts, he seemed upbeat and happy to be reunited with his teammates for the first time since undergoing the surgical procedure last Thursday. The heavy cast he has worn over the past six days will be replaced on Wednesday with a brace.
Beachy views this as the first of many milestones he will encounter during a grueling rehab process that will last nearly an entire calendar year. He likely will not be ready to rejoin the Atlanta rotation before the latter portion of next June.
"There are several guys who have been through it," Beachy said. "I'm just going to take my time, make sure I do everything right."
During his time as the Marlins manager, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez saw Josh Johnson return from this same surgical procedure in 11 months. While there will not be a push for Beachy to also make an early return, Gonzalez said the Atlanta pitcher does possess a work ethic that rivals Johnson's.
"The guys who do well after this procedure are the guys who have good work habits and do all of the rehab right to the T," Gonzalez said. "I think he's that kind of guy. I expect a full recovery from him 10-11 months down the road, because he is the right guy to get through that."
Beachy was leading the Major Leagues in ERA and positioning himself for his first All-Star selection before his right elbow started to become a concern during his June 8 start against the Blue Jays. Concerns started to turn to fears when he returned to the mound on June 16 and experienced greater and more alarming discomfort. Five days later, he underwent surgery.
"I'm going to cheer these guys on, watch and wish I was out there," Beachy said. "But there's no use sitting around, feeling sorry for myself."