Fans hoping to see future Atlanta Braves at AT&T Field this week got to see an existing one Monday night.
Pitcher Brandon Beachy, who made 38 starts for Atlanta during the 2011-12 seasons, worked five innings in a rehabilitation start and got the victory as the Mississippi Braves defeated Chattanooga 5-3 before a crowd of 2,974. Beachy threw 80 pitches, allowing six hits and three runs while striking out four as the Braves improved to 32-25 while the Lookouts dropped to 26-31.
"He's in the progression that we want from him," Mississippi pitching coach Dennis Lewallyn said. "He felt fresher his last time out, and he said he was stiffer tonight. That's part of the progression when you've had Tommy John surgery."
The 26-year-old right-hander threw five scoreless innings last Wednesday at Single-A Rome and is scheduled to make a couple of more starts in the minors before rejoining Atlanta. Beachy left the Mississippi clubhouse before Monday's game was complete.
After an impressive first inning, Beachy opened the second by allowing an Ozzie Martinez double to right field and a Joc Pederson single to left. Martinez and Pederson would come around to score, and the other run given up by Beachy occurred in the fifth when Chattanooga relief pitcher Kyle Cofield hit a home run to left.
Beachy and Cofield were Mississippi teammates during the 2009-10 seasons.
"I was actually his roommate for the longest time, and I was his roommate when he got called up for his big-league debut," Cofield said. "I've got to give him grief over this one. I just got lucky with it."
Beachy's appearance overshadowed the first start for Chattanooga's Onelki Garcia since April 29. Garcia, the No. 7 prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization according to Baseball America, went on the disabled list May 1 with a pulled groin and returned last Thursday to pitch a couple of innings in relief.
Garcia loaded the bases in the first inning before coming away unscathed, but he wasn't as fortunate in the second, giving up a grand slam to left to former Lookouts infielder Luis Nunez. Garcia lasted just two innings, giving up six hits and four runs.
"It seemed like he got down on himself, and we have to work to make sure he stays competing and doesn't drop below his best," Lookouts pitching coach Hector Berrios said. "He had a good game prior to this one, so hopefully this is one he can put behind him."
Beachy broke into the majors late in the 2010 season, and in 2011 he went 7-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 25 starts. He was 5-5 through 13 starts last season and had the lowest ERA (2.00) of any starter in the majors, but he complained of soreness in his right elbow and was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.
He underwent the ligament-replacement surgery on June 21.
"He'll make his next start in [Triple-A] Gwinnett in four days," Lewallyn said. "He just needs more innings to get that stamina built up."
Andres Santiago (2-5, 5.71) is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 game for the Lookouts, with Michael Lee (3-4, 4.91) scheduled for the Braves.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...