Atlanta Braves outfielder Kelly Johnson had Tommy John Surgery on his right elbow Thursday and will miss the remainder of the 2006 season.
Johnson had met Wednesday with Dr. James Andrews, who determined the damage in Johnson's ulnar collateral ligament was too severe and that surgery was necessary.
The 24-year-old Johnson had arthroscopic surgery on the elbow last winter. He was doing well until straining the elbow in spring training making a throw from the outfield.
The Braves placed Johnson on the 15-day disabled list to start the season. He then joined the Rome Braves in mid-May on a rehab assignment and hit .474 in five games. Then he went to Richmond where he hit .333 in 10 games with one home run and 7 RBI in 39 at bats.
Johnson was having trouble throwing the ball from left field. He was fine swinging the bat, but he had pain when he made throws. The Braves had even put him at second base in batting practice in Atlanta to see if that might be less stress on his elbow.
It was hoped that rest would take care of the strain in Johnson's ligament. Sometimes when pitchers have strains, they can rest, strengthen the elbow, and avoid surgery. But Johnson was not making any progress, and the decision was made to move forward with surgery.
Last season Johnson was one of the tremendous rookies that helped the Braves win another division title. He hit .241 with 9 home runs and 40 runs batted in. The Braves had hoped he'd see more time in the outfield this season.
Now Johnson will begin a vigorous rehab schedule. The team hopes he'll be ready to go on Opening Day of the 2007 season.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look at the Braves' traditional front office philosophies. Email Bill at email@example.com.
Kelly Johnson to miss remainder of season
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