ATLANTA -- After examining Eric O'Flaherty's elbow on Monday afternoon, Dr. James Andrews confirmed that the Braves' reliever will need to undergo season-ending surgery. The Braves announced O'Flaherty will undergo Tommy John surgery on Tuesday afternoon in Gulf Breeze, Fla. Andrews will perform the procedure.
The Braves and O'Flaherty assumed he would need to undergo this procedure after an MRI exam performed Saturday showed a tear in his left elbow's ulnar collateral ligament. The 28-year-old reliever will likely need to undergo at least 12 months of rehab before being cleared to pitch at the Major League level again.
When O'Flaherty experienced some elbow discomfort late last year, an MRI exam showed what he described as "normal wear and tear." The Braves nixed the plan to do a more conclusive exam at end of the season because O'Flaherty allowed just four hits in 10 2/3 scoreless innings over his final 12 outings.
O'Flaherty allowed two earned runs and six hits in the 11 2/3 innings he completed in April. But he was not as effective while surrendering six hits and three runs in the 6 1/3 innings he completed this month.
"When you're working through pain every day trying to get the body ready, there's a sense of relief that you're not going to have to deal with that anymore if surgery is what I need, and that's what it's looking like right now," O'Flaherty said on Sunday. "At the same time, you never want to hear anything like this."
O'Flaherty's dedication and determination have enabled him to overcome the back problems that plagued him early in his career. He has compiled a 1.99 ERA in the 295 appearances he has made since joining the Braves in 2009. With the 0.98 ERA he posted in 2011, he became the first Major League pitcher to produce a sub 1.00 ERA while making at least 70 appearances.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less