PREMIUM CONTENT: Bullpen health update

BravesCenter's Bill Shanks has the latest on the Braves' ailing relievers in this premium story.

Braves' lefty reliever John Foster will have a MRI in the next 48 hours to determine the extent of the damage to his left elbow.

It is possible Foster could undergo Tommy John surgery, which would force him to miss the entire 2006 season.

Foster has had pain in his left elbow for most of the month of March. He first felt the discomfort in a live bullpen session two weeks ago. He has tried to pitch through the pain, but it is even hurting when he is running wind sprints at this point.

If the MRI is inconclusive that there is a tear, the Braves will allow Foster to rest for two weeks before determining the next step. However, it does not look promising.

The prognosis is a bit better for Macay McBride. Atlanta's other lefty reliever has had some left forearm tightness, but he is expected to simply rest the arm a few more days before trying to throw again. McBride's situation is not serious, and there is no expectation that he will miss any significant time.

With Foster possibly gone for the season, Sunday's start by Chuck James could go a long way in solidifying his chances to be on Atlanta's Opening Day roster. James has allowed only one earned run in his first two games. With veteran Mike Remlinger struggling, James could team with McBride as the two lefties in the Braves' bullpen this season.

Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional front office philosophies. Email Bill at

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