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MRI shows damage to Braves ace Spencer Strider’s elbow ligament, leaving status for season in doubt

 The Associated Press  |    Apr 6th, 2024 5:30pm EDT

ATLANTA (AP) — Braves ace right-hander Spencer Strider has damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, an MRI revealed Saturday, leaving his status for the remainder of the season in doubt.

The Braves said Strider will be evaluated further by Dr. Keith Meister in Arlington, Texas, at a date to be determined. Even though the team did not announce the severity of the damage, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said the result “wasn’t good.”

“You hate that,” Snitker said. “You hate it for him. I feel really bad for him. I mean, the kid does everything right. Loves to compete. … We’ll just wait and see what they decide to do. … I’m sure they’ll have something in a few days.”

Strider complained about discomfort in his elbow after pitching four innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, in Atlanta’s 6-5 win over Arizona on Friday night.

Snitker said Strider did not mention the problem with his elbow until after the game.

Snitker acknowledged he braced for bad news from Saturday’s MRI.

“You never expect these things to be good or just a blip on the screen,” Snitker said, adding UCL injuries that often lead to season-ending Tommy John surgery are a problem across baseball.

The Cleveland Guardians announced Saturday that ace Shane Bieber will have Tommy John surgery, ending his season.

“They’re throwing harder than ever and spinning the ball more than ever,” Snitker said, adding Strider’s long-term prospects remain bright.

“The good news is he’ll get whatever it is fixed and come back and have a really good career,” Snitker said.

Strider was 20-5 in 2023, leading the majors in wins. His 281 strikeouts also were the most in the big leagues.

The right-hander had a 3.86 ERA last season. His ERA is 7.00 after two starts this year.

Snitker said he will wait to announce plans for how he will fill Strider’s spot in the rotation.

“We’re going to get through tonight and see where we’re at,” Snitker said. “There are going to be a lot of variables to get through.”

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB