Braves’ Beachy aiming for return in late June

Braves starting pitcher Brandon Beachy stretches using a fence.

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Braves starting pitcher Brandon Beachy stretches using a fence.

WASHINGTON — Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy sat at a table in the middle of the visiting clubhouse Sunday morning, bearded, in shirt and shorts and his customary workout headband, worn Karate Kid-style tied in back.

Nearly 10 months into what’s usually a 12-13 month rehabilitation from Tommy John elbow surgery, the right-hander is in terrific overall condition and feels his pitching elbow getting stronger during the bullpen sessions he’s throwing about every four days.

“I’m pleased with where I’m at,” said Beachy, 24. “I’m pleased that I don’t have to try to get a guy out right now, but I’m pleased with where I’m at in the process.”

He’s still aiming for a return before the July 15-18 All-Star break. The Braves haven’t given a specific timetable or how they plan to make room for Beachy, who was among major league leaders with a 2.00 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 81 innings (13 starts) before he got hurt.

Nor are they expected to announce any plans before a decision would need to be made. As team officials usually say in cases where there will seemingly be too many players pitchers for one spot: A lot can happen between now and then, and such matters often take care of themselves due to injuries, underperformance, etc.

“I’m still hoping for right around a year,” said Beachy, who had surgery June 21, 2012.

He has been used strictly as a starter in the majors, and was 7-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 25 starts as a rookie in 2011.

Beachy said being able to travel with the first-place Braves makes it easier to get through the final stages of his rehab.

“It sure beats sitting at home on the couch watching it,” he said. “Makes it way easier. I’m here on a daily basis, interacting with the guys, working out next to them. It’s better than being back by myself….

“It’s fun. We’re dominating. Everyone’s doing their thing. We’re winning games.”