The Braves have announced that right-hander Shae Simmons underwent Tommy John surgery today and will miss the 2015 season as he rehabs from the procedure.
Simmons, 24, surfaced with the Braves in late May and enjoyed a very strong run through the end of July, but a sore shoulder cost him the final two months of the season. While healthy, the former 22nd-round pick notched a 2.91 ERA with 23 strikeouts against 11 walks in 21 2/3 innings. He allowed just one home run and posted an excellent 52.8 percent ground-ball rate to go along with an average fastball velocity of 94.9 mph.
The news continues a run of bad luck the Braves (and the entire league, in a more general sense) have had with Tommy John surgery over the past year. Last spring, Atlanta lost both Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen to torn ulnar collateral ligaments, essentially wiping out 40 percent of their projected starting rotation. That led to the signing of both Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang, who performed admirably in their stead.
As MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets, the Braves say that Simmons began complaining of elbow discomfort last week. That may very well explain some of the team’s motivation for bringing in a vast array of experienced right-handers over the past week. Atlanta has added Jose Veras, Todd Coffey and Matt Capps on minor league pacts over the past three days, each of whom will be in Spring Training in hopes of securing a spot in the bullpen.