Braves' Gonzalez returns to Atlanta to have elbow checked

Braves general manager Frank Wren said Gonzalez, who was examined by Dr. Xavier Duralde, should be ready to pitch when play resumes Thursday after the All-Star break.

The left-hander left the team on Friday and went back to Atlanta to have his arm checked out, after pitching in three consecutive games and giving up two runs in the eighth inning of Thursday's 8-6 loss against Colorado.

Gonzalez had ligament-transplant elbow surgery on May 31, 2007, and returned from the disabled list 12-1/2 months later.

After having an inconsistent 2008 season while regaining arm strength, he has a 3.43 ERA in 45 appearances this season, tied with teammate Eric O'Flaherty for third-most appearances in the majors. Gonzales has converted 9-of-13 save opportunities and piled up 55 strikeouts in 42 innings.

But in his past eight appearances, Gonzalez had a 10.29 ERA and .308 opponents' average, allowing eight hits, eight runs, two homers and four walks in seven innings over that span.

Gonzalez has struggled mightily in two of his past six appearances, both times when he was pitching for the third consecutive day.

On July 4 at Washington, he gave up three runs, one hit and two walks in one-third of an inning, after pitching a hitless inning with one walk on July 2 vs. Philly and a perfect inning with three strikeouts on July 3 at Washington.

On Thursday against Colorado, he gave up two runs, a hit, a walk and a hit batter while recording two outs. Gonzalez pitched a scoreless inning with one hit in each of the previous two days at Chicago.

Braves sidearmer Peter Moylan led the majors with 47 appearances before Saturday, giving the Braves three of the four highest relief-appearance totals in the majors.

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