Atlanta Braves pitcher Spencer Strider (99) delivers in the first...

Atlanta Braves pitcher Spencer Strider (99) delivers in the first inning of baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday, April 5, 2024, in Atlanta. Credit: AP/John Bazemore

MIAMI — Atlanta Braves ace Spencer Strider will miss the rest of the season after having surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the team said Saturday.

Dr. Keith Meister in Arlington, Texas, performed the procedure on Friday, using an internal brace to repair the UCL. Strider avoided Tommy John surgery, which he had in 2019 while at Clemson.

Recovery from the internal brace surgery, which uses an artificial material to make the repair, has allowed pitchers to return to the majors in as few as nine months. Tommy John surgery, which uses a tendon from elsewhere in the body to replace the torn ligament, has a typical rehab period of 12 to 18 months.

Strider complained about discomfort in his elbow after pitching four innings in Atlanta’s 6-5 win over Arizona on April 5. An MRI the next day revealed damage to his UCL, and the Braves prepared for the worst.

“You never expect these things to be good or just a blip on the screen,” manager Brian Snitker said last week.

Strider was 20-5 in 2023, leading the majors in wins and strikeouts (281). The right-hander had a 3.86 ERA last season.

He had a 7.00 ERA with 12 strikeouts in two starts this year.

The club's first attempt at finding someone to fill Strider's spot in the rotation went poorly. Right-hander Allan Winans was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett last Sunday after Strider went on the 15-day injured list. Winans allowed seven runs, six earned, over five innings of a disastrous start against the Mets on Thursday and was optioned after the game.

Snitker said the team has been looking at replacement options since Strider initially went down but doesn't have anyone specific in mind yet.

“We’re monitoring all those guys that are down there," he said before Saturday's game against the Miami Marlins. "All the starters. We have some good options, and we’ll just see where we are after different things. It’ll be kind of a day-to-day thing.”

The Braves began Saturday in first place in the NL East with an 8-4 record as they attempt to win their seventh straight division title.

The 25-year-old Strider joins a list of big-named pitchers who have suffered significant injuries this season.

Cleveland’s Shane Bieber, the New York Yankees’ Jonathan Loáisiga, Miami’s Eury Pérez and Oakland’s Trevor Gott are among the pitchers diagnosed with elbow injuries. Meister also performed Tommy John surgery on Bieber on Friday.

“I hate it. I want to see the stars, the best players play," Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “I think just as a baseball fan, I’ll always be a baseball fan. My son is 16 and is a baseball fan. My daughter is 14, and she’s a baseball fan. She comes to the games to watch the best players compete against each other. So we have to figure this out as an industry, as an organization, the whole deal.”

The Marlins have dealt with their fair share of pitching injuries. Their ace, Sandy Alcantara, is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in October. Pérez underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this month after initially being diagnosed with mild elbow inflammation late in the spring.

“We’re all trying to figure this out to keep the best players out there,” Schumaker said. “As much as I don’t want to see Strider facing us, I want to see him pitch in the major leagues for a long time. ... We have to figure this out, and it starts down at the youth sports honestly. My son’s in high school and he has a kid on his team that’s having Tommy John surgery. So it starts down below, and the whole baseball community has to figure this thing out.”

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