Another day, another Braves pitcher headed for Tommy John elbow surgery. This time it’s reliever Cory Gearrin, who has decided to go under the knife after getting three different opinions that confirmed his torn ulnar collateral ligament.
Gearrin suffered the injury late in spring training, although it’s hard not to trace his problems back to being worked extremely hard by manager Fredi Gonzalez early last season. At one point Gonzalez used Gearrin eight times in a ten-game span and the side-arming right-hander missed the whole second half with shoulder problems.
It’s a shame, because at age 28 he was finally ready to take on a full-time bullpen role after dominating at Triple-A for three seasons. And now he’ll miss the rest of this season and likely part of 2015 after joining teammates Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy in needing Tommy John surgery.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.