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Cory Gearrin has a damaged UCL, may need Tommy John surgery

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Yet another Braves arm undergoes an injury before the season starts. Will it ever end?

USA TODAY Sports

After leaving Tuesday's Grapefruit League game against the Tigers with a "right elbow strain," it now appears the Cory Gearrin is the third Braves pitcher to have sustained a torn UCL during Spring Training this season.

David O'Brien of the AJC writes that after being evaluated by Xavier Duralde, it was determined that his UCL was damaged during his appearance on Tuesday. Gearrin will head to see Dr. James Andrews, who surely loves the Braves after all the business he's gotten from them in the past month, to confirm this diagnosis. It appears almost certain that Gearrin will be the third Braves pitcher, after Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy went down earlier this spring, to be headed to the operating table for Tommy John surgery.

Gearrin, who seemed to be a lock to make the 25-man roster out of camp as a right-handed reliever, partially because he is out of options, has been placed on the 15-Day DL pending further diagnosis. He had a middling spring, posting a 6.35 ERA in 11.2 innings of work. Gearrin spent the first three months of the 2013 season in the Braves' bullpen, working as a right-handed specialist. He had a 3.77 ERA in 30 innings of work with a less-than-stellar 23:16 K:BB ratio during his time in the Majors. His performance netted him -0.2 fWAR, as his peripheral statistics were even less impressive than the ERA that he ended up with. He was optioned to Gwinnett after the Braves' acquisition of Luis Ayala, but spent the remainder for the season on the DL with shoulder inflammation.

It now looks that Gearrin will not be a factor in the Braves' plans in 2014, barring an unexpectedly positive diagnosis by Andrews. The Braves are planning to carry eight relievers on the roster before calling Ervin Santana up during the second week of the season, so they have chosen to select the contract of hard-throwing lefty Ryan Buchter in place of Gearrin on the 25-man roster for the start of the season.

This is a tough bit of news for Gearrin, and we wish him the best in his recovery from this injury. Is spring over yet?