Atlanta Braves reliever Andrew McKirahan is likely to be ruled out for the entire 2016 MLB season as he is set to undergo elbow surgery.
McKirahan injured his elbow on his fifth pitch during his spring training debut against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.
Braves general manager John Coppolella confirmed that the 26-year-old had been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and will seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on whether he needs Tommy John surgery. Should it be necessary, this will be the second time McKirahan has undergone Tommy John surgery as he had the same procedure in 2012.
“I really feel for the kid,” Coppolella told reporters. “This will be his second (Tommy John surgery). We thought he had a real shot to make the club this spring.
“He felt fine. He actually threw some really good (bullpens). This is just part of it.”
This is the second consecutive season that McKirahan has suffered a big setback as he was banned for 80 games last season after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
With McKirahan likely out for the season, Coppolella admitted that the Braves made the right move in adding depth to their pitching department.
“That’s why you keep getting pitching,” he said. “Sign it, trade for it, because you just don’t know.”