ATLANTA -- In his past few rehab starts, Brandon Beachy found the form of the consistent top-end starting pitcher he had always aimed to recapture, even during the most trying stretches of the long recovery process typical of Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. With that final corner turned, the right-hander will get the ball on Monday night against the Rockies for his first start since June 16, 2012.
"Obviously, it's going to be a little faster here than it has been in Triple-A, but there was definitely a moment where things started slowing down, and I just felt in control no matter what the count, what the situation," Beachy said.
Beachy, who suffered a setback in mid-June just days before his initially scheduled return, posted a 2.50 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 18 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett after getting back on the mound July 9.
"I feel good now, and I've felt good ever since I started up again from that little shut-down period," Beachy said.
The Braves flew Beachy back to Atlanta on Saturday for one final side session that let manager Fredi Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell know he was ready to return to the rotation. With right-hander Tim Hudson lost for the season after suffering a gruesome ankle injury on Wednesday, Beachy's return is timely.
"He's ready," Gonzalez said of Beachy. "I talked to him this afternoon when he came in, and he felt great. Nothing from the bullpen yesterday, so we're going to give him the nod tomorrow."
At the time of his surgery last season, Beachy was tied for the Major League ERA lead and was holding opponents to the lowest batting average among qualifying starters. Less than 24 hours away from its long-awaited end, he was able to reflect on the toll the recovery process took on his patience.
"Months one through seven seemed like three years, especially once the season ended," Beachy said. "All offseason everyone goes home and does their thing, and I'm still here hanging out with [team physical therapist Lloyd van Pamelen] four days a week. Every one of those days felt like a full 24 hours at least."
Gonzalez said that Beachy would likely be held to around 100 pitches, but the right-hander was not letting a pitch count burden his mind leading up to his first Major League action in nearly 14 months.
"I'm going to go out there and take the ball, and I'm going to pitch until they take it from me," Beachy said.
Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less