Floyd, Wainwright share TJ connection

On the eve of his return to the mound Tuesday against the Cardinals, Gavin Floyd has a lot to reflect back on over his 12-month recovery from Tommy John surgery. When he makes his debut for the Braves he’ll be just one day shy of his year anniversary from surgery.

The last time he pitched in a major league game was April 27, 2013 with the White Sox. Something else stuck out in Floyd’s mind from that day, other than just the moment he tore his ulnar collateral ligament.

“I called Adam Wainwright, and we were talking ball,” said Floyd, who had been introduced to Wainwright through a financial advisor they share. “One of the best pitchers in the game. He’s a really solid guy.”

It just so happens Wainwright will be at Turner Field in the opposite dugout with the Cardinals when Floyd makes his return Tuesday night. Wainwright has kept tabs on Floyd and heard that he’s progressed well through his minor league rehabilitation.

“He’s apparently throwing rockets too,” Wainwright said. “Big strong guy that’s got great stuff. Really has yet to come of his age I think. He’s got great poise. Great stuff and when he puts it all together, I think he’s got an All-star caliber arm, so I’m excited to get to see him back out there and competing because he’s a great guy and a great competitor.”

Wainwright knows a thing or two about what Floyd is going through. Wainwright missed the 2011 season after undergoing Tommy John. He went 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA when he returned in 2012, which by his standards was an off year.

Wainwright said he’s talked to Floyd about some of the inconsistencies pitchers can go through coming back.

“He asked me what the hardest thing I had to overcome the first year and I said, ‘My stuff didn’t return for a while,’” said Wainwright, who said he lost some of the late jump on his fastball, the “sink” on his sinker and “cut” on his cutter.

“(I had it) in short stints in spring and then as I got extended out, my arm was just very taxed and I didn’t have great stuff,” Wainwright said. “I had to find a new way to get outs that year and just really learned a lot about pitching. He’s going to learn a lot about himself and pitching and how to get through games when he doesn’t have his best stuff.”

Wainwright, the former Braves first round pick who’ll pitch against them Wednesday night, went 19-9 with a 2.94 ERA last year in his second full season removed from surgery. He led the National League in innings (241 2/3) and tied for the league lead in wins and starts (34).