Maholm sprains wrist, hopes to make next start
X-rays negative; Gonzalez doesn't expect Braves lefty to need DL stint
CHICAGO -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was asked on Saturday afternoon about a potential starting pitching glut lying not too far down the road, with Brandon Beachy and Alex Wood possibly pushing for a spot in the rotation.
He went to one of his favorite responses, which was: "Those problems usually take care of themselves."
A few hours later, it almost did -- after Braves starter Paul Maholm left his outing in the fourth inning with a sprained left wrist. Maholm gave up seven runs in a 10-6 loss to the White Sox and was saddled with his third straight defeat, but the bigger issue afterward was the condition of his wrist -- which he initially tweaked while hitting July 10 in his last start before the All-Star break.
Asked about a possible stint on the 15-day disabled list for Maholm, Gonzalez shook his head.
"No, I don't think so," Gonzalez said. "I know they X-rayed him and [found] nothing. Everything came back negative. So, I think he's waiting to see the White Sox doctor [Saturday night] and see what they say. If we feel it's something more than that, we'll send him to our guys at home … but right now, we're just waiting."
Maholm is next slated to start Thursday against the Mets at Citi Field. Does Gonzalez think the lefty will be able to take that turn in the rotation?
"It all depends on how he feels," Gonzalez said. "I talked to him before you guys came in and he said he put some ice on it and it feels OK, but we'll see."
Maholm, who'd been given a 4-0 lead in the first three innings, said the wrist issue cropped up during his warmup throws to start the fourth. After giving up a leadoff double to Josh Phegley, Maholm then yielded a run-scoring single to Brent Morel before calling for Braves athletic trainer Jeff Porter to come look at his arm.
The veteran southpaw was replaced by David Carpenter, who was charged with two runs before getting out of the fourth with the Braves trailing, 9-4.
Maholm didn't have the wrist braced when meeting with reporters afterward and hoped to make his between-starts bullpen before taking the ball against the Mets.
"I think it was more just warming up in the fourth," he said. "My warmup pitches going out in the fourth were extremely high and it was bothering me to where I didn't think I should keep going. Hopefully here in the next day or so, it'll be good to go and I'll be able to throw."
Maholm threw 70 pitches, but one really did the most damage in the third -- when Alex Rios pounded a grand slam off him to center field to give the White Sox a 5-4 lead. This was Maholm's 20th start of the season and first in nine days thanks to the break. He'd lost his previous two starts and gave up a combined nine runs (all earned).
"Nothing [stinks] worse than when your guys give you a 4-0 lead and you [give] it back," Maholm said. "It's not the first time I've gone through a bad stretch in my career and it's not probably going to be the last one. It's no fun and it's not as if I don't think I can correct it pretty easily. I'm going to do my best to make sure I'm able to throw my bullpen in between and correct it and make the adjustment to get back to where I was for the first two months of the season."
What the Braves will do if he does have to miss a start or more is the question. Beachy is nearing a return from Tommy John surgery, while Wood was sent to Gwinnett on July 13 to get stretched out for a potential starting role with the Braves down the stretch.
The timeline for one or both might get bumped up, but for now, the Braves are taking a "wait-and-see" approach.
"We didn't want to take anymore chances and we got him out of there as soon as we saw there was something," Gonzalez said. "There was nothing there before that, so we didn't want to make [something] out of nothing and get him out of there."
Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.