Floyd injured as Braves beat Nationals

The Braves may have lost another pitcher. What's next? Bill Shanks has more.

The news from Washington is not all good. Braves' starter Gavin Floyd broke his elbow Thursday night in the 7th inning. He will return to Atlanta for more tests, but it is likely Floyd has thrown his last pitch this season.

Floyd was pitching his best game of the season. He had pitched six shutout innings and had allowed only two hits. Floyd had walked one and struck out six. He got the victory as the Braves won 3-0 in the important series opener against the Nationals.

Floyd's ERA went from 2.98 to 2.65 with the solid performance. His record improved to 2-2 on the season.

After throwing a pitch to leadoff hitter Jayson Werth, Floyd flexed his arm and then took a long walk around the mound. The Braves' trainer, Jeff Porter, came out to the mound with manager Fredi Gonzalez. Floyd walked off pretty quickly and replays showed a swelling near the right elbow.

The exact bone that was fractured is the olecranon. Joel Zumaya of the Tigers is one pitcher that had a similar injury. That happened in 2010 and Zumaya never pitched again.

This will be a cruel ending to his season if Floyd is in fact done. He has pitched very well since returning from Tommy John surgery. Floyd has allowed 55 hits in 54.1 innings, with only 13 walks and 45 strikeouts in his nine starts.

The Braves are fortunate in that they have good depth for the rotation. Alex Wood was sent to Gwinnett to be stretched out to return to the Atlanta rotation. He pitched his second game Wednesday night in Triple-A and allowed one earned run in five innings. In his two starts, Wood has allowed that one run on seven hits in 8.2 innings, with four walks and eight strikeouts.

Floyd was scheduled to start again next Wednesday in Houston, so with an extra day Wood would likely be penciled into that spot in the rotation.

The Braves may decide to move David Hale to Triple-A Gwinnett to have him stretch out, in case there is another need for a starting pitcher. Hale has made four starts this season and pitched out of the bullpen 18 times.

You have to wonder if the rumors this week about the Braves having interest in Cubs' right-hander Jeff Samardzija will get louder now with Floyd out. Also, Floyd was reportedly drawing interest around the league from teams in need of a starting pitcher. The Braves may not have the luxury now to listen to offers for fellow veteran Aaron Harang now that Floyd is gone.

Listen to "The Bill Shanks Show" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and e-mail him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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