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July 29, 2013

Beachy to return to Braves' rotation tonight

NW product had Tommy John surgery on pitching elbow.

ATLANTA (AP) — Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy will make his first start in more than a year on Monday night against Colorado as he completes his comeback from elbow surgery.

The Braves confirmed Sunday that Beachy will come off the disabled list for his first start since right elbow ligament-replacement surgery in June 2012.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Beachy probably will be limited to about 100 pitches.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this,” Beachy said Sunday.

Beachy said he struggled to remain patient during the long rehabilitation process. He said the first seven months “seemed like three years.”

The comeback hit a snag in June when he felt discomfort in the elbow. He was temporarily shut down when he was on the verge of completing his minor league rehabilitation.

“I feel good now and I’ve felt good ever since that point I was shut down,” Beachy said.

“I’m going to go out there and take the ball and keep it until they take it away from me.”

Beachy was 5-5, led the NL with a 2.00 ERA, and appeared bound for an All-Star appearance when his 2012 season ended after 13 starts.

Gonzalez said Beachy’s return to the rotation “is like getting a big piece in a trade at deadline.”

Beachy’s return comes at a good time for Atlanta’s depleted rotation.

Beachy moves into Tim Hudson’s rotation spot. Hudson’s season ended when he broke his right ankle on Wednesday night. Left-hander Paul Maholm, who left his last start with a bruised left wrist, is not on the disabled list but will miss at least one start.

Braves general manager Frank Wren confirmed this week the team is looking for pitching help — a starter or reliever — before Wednesday’s trade deadline.

The Braves have had back-to-back strong starts by Mike Minor and Julio Teheran in wins over St. Louis. Beachy’s return could add more support to the NL East-leading Braves’ hopes of overcoming the loss of Hudson.

“Before he got hurt he was one of the most dominant pitchers in the National League,” Gonzalez said of Beachy. “I don’t think he’ll be that his first time out, but I think he’ll be close.”

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