Brandon Beachy to see Dr. James Andrews

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As if the Braves hadn’t gotten enough bad news in the last day, Brandon Beachy, who returned from Tommy John surgery last month, will see Dr. James Andrews next week after experiencing a setback.

According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Beachy underwent an MRI on Wednesday, the results of which the Braves haven’t revealed.

Beachy was lit up in his first outing back for the Braves, but he had turned in four straight quality starts since and was 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA overall. Fortunately, the Braves are getting Paul Maholm back, so they still have five starters with Beachy absent. They were believed to be weighing sending Kris Medlen to the pen to make room for Maholm.

Beachy underwent Tommy John surgery on June 21, 2012. He started working in extended spring training games in mid-May and made his first minor league rehab start on May 24 this year before suffering a minor setback in June that got him shut down for a couple of weeks. That pushed back his timetable about a month before he was officially activated on July 29.

The standard recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-18 months, but these days, everyone seems to be aiming for 12, if not a little less. Diamondbacks right-hander Daniel Hudson underwent surgery on July 9, 2012, resumed pitching in the minors in mid-May of this year and then blew out his elbow again on June 5. He was trying to make it back in about 11 months. Beachy and the Braves were aiming for 12 months before his first setback. Perhaps pitchers and teams are getting too aggressive, especially given what’s at stake if there’s a setback.

Video: Justin Verlander reaches career mark with 270th strikeout

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Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.

Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.

Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.

After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.