ST. LOUIS -- After broadcasting Thursday night's game against the Cardinals for MLB Network, John Smoltz returned to the Braves' team hotel and gave manager Fredi Gonzalez further reason to hope Brandon Beachy is simply experiencing one of the many pitfalls a pitcher can experience when returning from Tommy John surgery.
After missing all of the 2000 season while recovering from this surgical procedure, Smoltz returned to Atlanta's rotation on May 17, 2001, and made five starts before arm discomfort forced him to spend the next six weeks on the disabled list. He ended up going to the bullpen in August to begin what proved to be a three-plus-season stint as Atlanta's closer.
In similar fashion, Beachy has been placed on the DL after making five starts since returning from this elbow surgery that requires at least one full year of rehab. During Tuesday night's start against the Mets, Beachy experienced a drop in velocity and began experiencing discomfort that he likened to what he felt when he was shut down in June, a few days before making his scheduled return from the surgical procedure.
The Braves have labeled Beachy's ailment right elbow inflammation, the same one he battled two months ago. Beachy will gain a better understanding of his situation when he visits Dr. James Andrews on Monday.
"[Smoltz] said some people tell you it's 12 months, but you don't feel really, really good until the 14th or 15th month," Gonzalez said. "Everybody is different. ... It's always good when you hear Smoltzie say it's normal."
Beachy has said he is confident that he will pitch again this season, and the Braves seem to genuinely share this sentiment.
Beachy created some reason for concern when none of the final three fastballs he threw on Tuesday night registered over 85 mph. But the Braves have been encouraged by the fact that he has not described discomfort that would lead them to believe he is dealing with structural damage in his elbow.
"I'm not really overly concerned about what he is telling us," Gonzalez said.
J-Up ejected by plate umpire after groundout
ST. LOUIS -- Braves outfielder Justin Upton was ejected during the sixth inning of Friday night's 3-1 loss to the Cardinals for screaming an expletive that he contends was a product of the frustration he felt after sending a ground ball toward second baseman Kolten Wong.
Home-plate umpire Paul Nauert did not share this opinion. Feeling the curse word was directed toward him, Nauert opted to eject Upton as he was running toward first base.
"If I can't get frustrated with myself and say what I want to myself, it's sad," Upton said. "It's really sad. We play this game and we work hard and we get frustrated with ourselves. I have no clue what he heard. It's sad."
Upton heard Nauert yell for the ejection as he was going down the first-base line. Still, he ran through the bag before racing back toward the plate in an irate manner to confront the umpire. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez stood between the two as Upton vehemently issued a few more choice words before being pushed toward the dugout by first-base coach Terry Pendleton.
"I don't want to get into the details of the whole thing, but I didn't think it was a good ejection," Gonzalez said. "I don't think there is a right time and a wrong time to eject people. But I don't think when the guy is running away from you, whatever he said, it's not a good ejection."
Upton, Gonzalez and Freddie Freeman, who was on deck when this transpired, chose not to say what word or words might have been misunderstood by Nauert.
"He misinterpreted one of the words, and to be honest with you, Freddie Freeman was standing on deck," Upton said. "He heard it loud and clear and he was further away. I think it was more of a sensitivity issue."
One pitch before grounding out, Upton looked at a called strike and then stared at Nauert. Three innings earlier, Upton had slammed his helmet in disgust after looking at a called third strike.
"He said two words," Freeman said. "[Nauert] heard one word and Justin didn't say that word."
• The decision to place Beachy on the disabled list enabled the Braves to gain some outfield depth by recalling Todd Cunningham from Triple-A Gwinnett. Cunningham, who can play each of the three outfield positions, recorded two hits in the six at-bats he recorded while he was with Atlanta from July 29-Aug. 11.
• Dan Uggla will begin a two-game Minor League rehab stint on Monday with Triple-A Gwinnett. Uggla, who had his vision repaired via LASIK surgery on Aug. 16, is expected to return to Atlanta's lineup on Wednesday.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.