WASHINGTON -- What had the makings of a memorable homecoming for Gavin Floyd instead became a reminder of how cruel baseball can be to both the mind and body.
Floyd was in the midst of completing a gem before suffering what appears to be a season-ending right elbow injury during the seventh inning of Thursday night's 3-0 win over the Nationals. As the Braves right-hander walked toward the clubhouse, he thought he might be dealing with scar tissue remaining from the Tommy John elbow surgery he underwent 13 months ago.
But disgust turned to shock when an X-ray exam performed at Nationals Park showed that Floyd actually suffered a fracture of the olecranon, the prominent bone of the elbow joint.
"It wasn't painful, it was just kind of surprising," Floyd said. "I know when something pops, something is releasing. We had X-rays and obviously, it was different."
Floyd will fly to Atlanta on Friday to be further evaluated by Braves doctors. That meeting will give him a better understanding of when he might pitch again. But the 31-year-old, who returned from the Tommy John procedure in May, understands he's likely destined to go through a second straight winter of rehab.
With Floyd now out of the rotation, the Braves could opt to call up Alex Wood from Triple-A Gwinnett to start against the Astros next week. Or they could opt to use Monday's scheduled off-day as a way to keep Wood from starting until he's likely needed to start one end of a June 28 doubleheader in Philadelphia.
Nationals physicians told Floyd the ligament surgically repaired via the Tommy John surgery and his flexor tendon which was also surgically repaired in May 2012 both appeared structurally sound on Thursday night.
"We'll see what the doctors say," Floyd said. "But knowing that I'll be out for a bit, it's disappointing that I can't be there for the team and help out."
Floyd was simply dominant, as he limited the Nationals to two hits through the first six innings. None of the 13 curveballs he threw during this span were put in play.
"I don't think I've seen that many swings and misses by that much in a while now," Braves third baseman Chris Johnson said. "Gavin had his 'A' stuff tonight. It's just too bad the way it ended."
The tone of the night changed when Floyd opened the seventh inning with a curveball that Jayson Werth drove down the left-field line foul. When the veteran right-hander let go of that curveball, he felt a pop and called for Braves head athletic trainer Jeff Porter to come to the mound.
"It was a little sore before, but not in the area I had surgery," Floyd said. "So I figured it was things that were just a little sore. It was fine until that last pitch. I felt a pop. It wasn't painful. But I just asked them to come out."
Floyd suffered the injury while pitching in front of friends and family members who had made the short trek from his native Annapolis, Md. He had not felt any discomfort during any of the previous eight starts he had made since returning from Tommy John surgery.
"It's a shame," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I feel for the young man."