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ATLANTA — Spencer Strider had an MRI on his sore elbow Saturday, and the results revealed what the Atlanta Braves feared: damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in one of baseball’s most dynamic pitching arms.

The team did not disclose the extent of the injury, but UCL tears often require Tommy John surgery.

Braves manager Brian Snitker said of the MRI results: “It wasn’t good, and you hate that — hate him for it.” “For a kid who does everything right, I feel really bad for him. He likes to compete and everything. So wait and see what they decide to do.”

Strider, 25, has already had Tommy John surgery once, for a torn UCL while at Clemson in 2019. The Braves said they won’t have definitive news on the injury and treatment until Strider meets with Dr. Keith Meister, a specialist in Arlington, Texas, in the next few days.

Tommy John surgery will end Strider’s season and keep him out until the middle of the 2025 season, depending on the recovery protocols followed by the Braves and most other teams. Although the Braves have plenty of starting-pitcher depth in the minors, there could be a significant downside to replacing Stryder, the most dominant starting pitcher in baseball.

Among the candidates are left-hander Dylan Dodd, who made the All-Star team in 2023 and lefty Dylan Dodd, who allowed nine hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings before making the All-Star team in 2023. Triple-A game Friday.

“You hate to lose him like that, but we’re going to fight hard,” Snitker said. “This has happened to a lot of people, we are not the only ones who have been cut this year. That’s just part of it. You will be treated. That’s why you strive for depth in your organization, because you know you need it. No one is immune from it, all will pass. Many groups have experienced the same thing. “

Although many pitchers have successfully returned to pitching after a second Tommy John surgery, there is not much certainty that a pitcher will perform at the same level as he did returning from the first procedure.

“The way I see it, you pray for the best,” Braves third baseman Austin Reilly said minutes before hearing the news of the MRI. “We don’t know anything yet, but the guy I’m looking at is as prepared as he is and he’s very diligent in everything he does… Like I said, you hope it’s not crazy. Because he prepares and thinks as well as anyone on this team. Hopefully good – better than bad.

Hours later, after hearing about the UCL injury revealed in the MRI, Riley said, “Devastating. You don’t want to hear that kind of thing from a guy who works really hard and is into his craft. He cares a lot. You only feel for him. He’s one of those guys that’s sad, you hate that it happened, but he’ll take the time and effort to get it back. Like I said, I feel for him more than anything.

Catcher Travis d’Arnaud used the word “devastating” to describe the news, adding, “That stinks.” It stinks to us, but it really stinks to him. Painful person. it hurts.”

Strider allowed seven hits, five runs and three walks with four strikeouts in four innings of the Braves’ 10-inning win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, and afterward told the team’s trainer that his elbow hurt.

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Although Strider looked out Friday and his fastball velocity was down 1.3 mph from his opening day start and his average velocity in 2023, Snitker and his staff and catcher Travis d’Arnaud thought Strider was just having an “off” night. Even the best pitchers have at least a few seasons.

Snitker said the pitcher didn’t say anything about the elbow during the 88-pitch outing.

“No, not until later,” said Snitker. Because I know he said to someone, ‘I’m not coming back because they took me out of the game.’ If we had told him to go back there, I think he would have gone back out and continued shooting.

The team was still working through the logistics of scheduling an appointment with Meister in Texas, but it was clear from Snitker’s comments and tone that the Braves weren’t expecting any encouraging news from the specialist. Their own medical staff have already seen the MRI, and this time it seems that “good news” is unlikely.

“The good news is, he’ll get everything fixed and come back,” Snitker said.

In the year A fourth-round draft pick of the Braves in 2020, he peaked after 22 minor league games, and led the MLB in hitting with a 31-10 record over his first two full seasons in 2022-2023. 3.36 ERA in 63 games, including 52 starts, with an impressive 483 strikeouts in 318 1/3 innings. He was 20-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 2023 and led the majors with an Atlanta-record 281 strikeouts in 186 2/3 innings.

Prior to Friday, Strider had become the fastest pitcher in MLB history to hit 500 km.

(Photo: David J. Griffin / Icon Sports via The Associated Press)