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Moylan Has Torn Rotator Cuff And Labrum


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WASHINGTON – The enchanting story of Braves pitcher Peter Moylan took another bad turn Thursday when the Aussie reliever was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff and labrum in his pitching shoulder.

Moylan will Dr. James Andrews on Monday for a second opinion before a decision is made about surgery, which would probably keep him out for all or most of the 2012 season.

“I’m just going to wait and see what Andrews says,” said Moylan, 32, who missed more than four months for a bulging disc that required back surgery May 17.

He returned Sept. 3 and made six appearances, the last on Tuesday at Florida when he induced an inning-ending groundout with a runner on second in the sixth inning of a 6-5 Braves win.

“He pitched to one hitter, got [Matt] Dominguez to end the inning and felt great,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “And the next day he went out there to play catch with [pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] and … he felt something clicking.”

The Braves plan to activate Kris Medlen this weekend in Washington and add him to the bullpen, and left-handed reliever George Sherrill could also return for next week’s series against Philadelphia. Medlen has been out all season recovering from elbow surgery, and Sherrill has been on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation.

Moylan flew back to Atlanta on Wednesday, and Thursday he had an MRI and was examined by Braves orthopedist Xavier Duralde.

Braves general manager Frank Wren said Moylan had been pitching with a small tear in his rotator cuff for some time.

“Comparing it to the MRI he had last year in January, it just showed a little bit of worsening of the existing tear,” Wren said. “He’s had a small tear, and this looks a little worse than it was.”

Asked if there was any chance Moylan could avoid surgery, Wren said, “Yeah, there’s a chance. We still have to get more information, get a second opinion. Dr. Andrews is going to take a look at him.”

Even if it’s not a full-thickness rotator cuff tear, Moylan could require surgery to repair the damage to his cuff and labrurn.

He had ligament-transplant elbow surgery (“Tommy John” surgery”) one month into the 2008 season and missed the rest of the year, after posting a 1.80 ERA in 80 games as a 28-year-old rookie in 2007.

The amiable Aussie came back from elbow surgery and had a 2.84 ERA in a franchise-record 87 games in 2009, then churned out a 2.97 ERA in 85 appearances last season. He was 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA in 13 games this season.

His is one of the more improbable stories in the majors. Moylan was out of American professional baseball for eight years and working as a pharmaceutical salesman back home in Australia, playing for a club team on weekends, when he was invited to pitch for his country in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

After gaining about 10 miles per hour on his fastball when he dropped down and threw sidearm, he had drawn notice in Australia, and then from scouts during the WBC. The Braves signed him to a minor-league contract in March 2006, and he made his major league debut a month later.

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