Braves pitcher Blair has shoulder surgery

Braves right-hander Aaron Blair had surgery on his pitching shoulder Tuesday, a procedure performed by Dr. James Andrews and termed successful by the team. 

He had a capsule tear and Andrews did a clean-up of the subscapularis, which is part of the rotator cuff. Blair will miss the entire 2018 season.

Blair, a former first-round draft pick, began the season on the Triple-A Gwinnett roster and left his opening start Wednesday in the third inning after giving up a hit, three runs and five walks. 

The 25-year-old former top prospect came out of the game after throwing a wild pitch and going to cover home, and Braves manager Brian Snitker said the injury was not the result of any one thing but caused by “wear and tear.”

After being examined by a Braves doctor, Blair was sent to see Andrews on Monday at the surgeon’s clinic outside Pensacola, Fla. If surgery was deemed necessary it was to be done Tuesday at the clinic, and was.

Blair, who’ll be 26 on May 26, was coming off a career-worst season in which he made just one major league start for the Braves. He spent the rest of the year in Triple-A, going 7-9 with a 5.09 ERA, 107 strikeouts and 56 walks in 127-1/3 innings before leaving his final start with a torn lat muscle near his pitching shoulder.

He reported to spring training this year about 40 pounds lighter than the previous spring after spending the winter in Atlanta working out at SunTrust Park with Braves physical therapists and a few teammates. He improved his diet, ramped up his conditioning and said he felt much better and stronger when he arrived at spring training. 

He was excited about trying to get his career back on track and Snitker was excited for him. Now, Blair faces a lengthy and difficult surgery rehab.

A first-round draft pick by the Diamondbacks in 2013, Blair was still a solid prospect when traded to the Braves with Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte in a one-sided deal that sent pitcher Shelby Miller to Arizona in December 2015.

He made his debut in 2016 with the Braves and struggled with a 2-7 record and 7.59 ERA in 15 major league starts.

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