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ERA leader Brandon Beachy facing possibility of Tommy John surgery with torn UCL

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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On a night when R.A. Dickey took a huge step toward starting the All-Star game for the National League, another contender learned he'll probably miss the contest entirely.

Then again, missing the Midsummer Classic is  probably the least of Brandon Beachy's worries right now. Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Monday night that the Braves right-hander has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. That's a diagnosis that usually means Tommy John surgery, which would put an end to Beachy's amazing start to the 2012 season. The 25-year-old currently sports a 2.00 ERA over 81 innings pitched, good for the best ERA in baseball.

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Beachy will reportedly receive a second opinion from the famed Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday, but the mood around the Braves is grim. Atlanta GM Frank Wren told O'Brien that it was "hard to be optimistic" about the health of the pitcher who's led the Braves rotation all season long. If Beachy indeed needs Tommy John, he'll be the third high-profile pitcher in the last week to get the bad news. Toronto's Kyle Drabek learned on Monday that he'll have to go under the knife for the second Tommy John surgery of his young career while Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton had the procedure done last Thursday.

Jair Jurrjens will be called up from Triple-A to take Beachy's spot in the rotation, but it's hard to imagine how anyone will replicate what Beachy has done for the Braves (or countless fantasy teams) so far. They do need someone to step up, though, as Monday's 6-2 loss to the Yankees was their seventh in their past eight games. The Braves currently trail first-place Washington by 4.5 games in the NL East.

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