Reading Room: Gavin Floyd breaks his elbow

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Plus: Chris Sale pranks Scott Carroll, and Nate Jones and Avisail Garcia are traveling with the team

Gavin Floyd entered his start on Thursday as one of baseball's better comeback stories. He joined the Atlanta Braves rotation in May and immediately contributed strong pitching (2.98 ERA) over eight starts.

His ninth start looked to be his best one yet. He blanked the Washington Nationals over the first six innings, throwing just 64 pitches even though he struck out six.

Then he threw his first pitch of the seventh inning, and now his season is over.

Floyd broke the olecranon -- the bony tip of the ulna that sticks out behind the elbow -- as he made the first pitch of the seventh inning, a curveball that Jayson Werth pulled foul, deep along the left-field line.

"It was fine until that last pitch," Floyd said. "I felt a pop. And it wasn't painful, at least."

Floyd will return to Atlanta on Friday to be examined by team doctors. The injury is so rare that neither he nor manager Fredi Gonzalez could provide a timetable for Floyd's return.

The injury would be more gruesome if it weren't so bizarre.

It's definitely hard-to-chart territory, because while one might think a bone fracture is better than another ligament tear, this is the same injury that ended Joel Zumaya's career. The Braves haven't even begun to give a timetable for a procedure and recovery, but they seem to be working with the idea that it's a season-ending injury.

As somebody who would've supported the White Sox signing him for the contract the Braves gave him, it's hard to say how this injury would've applied to an alternate universe. Given that Floyd dealt with a couple forearm issues before his elbow finally gave way, maybe they considered that whole area a danger zone. Or maybe this is just random misfortune, and they were kicking themselves for not retaining him up until Thursday night.

If he doesn't pitch again in 2014, his numbers will freeze at 2-2 with a 2.65 ERA. He won't quite earn his salary with those 54 innings, but he came a lot closer than I'd expect with nine starts.

Christian Marrero Reading Room

Scott Carroll has always been an entrepreneur at heart, so it's not necessarily surprising that he'd give his teammates a free Doodlehat -- a cap with a dry-erase surface on the front -- to pique interest.

Given that it's a Major League Baseball clubhouse, it's less surprising that somebody would use it against him. After the victory over the Giants on Wednesday, Sale used his Doodlehat to advertise Carroll's phone number:

"When I came out of the shower, I saw he was wearing the hat. And I was like, 'That's cool. He's wearing it. I'm happy someone is finally wearing it for an interview,'" a smiling Carroll said Thursday. "I get closer and I see my number on there and I was like, 'Son of a … .'

"It was really funny. I thought it was awesome. I thought it was a great prank. That's why I was joking and said you try to do something nice for a guy and that's how they repay you."

Hundreds of calls came in to Carroll's phone Wednesday night into Thursday morning. He joked that many people hung up or left a voicemail along the lines of "Chris Sale told me to call this number. Call me back." Carroll has not returned any of the 50-or-so voicemails.

Nate Jones took another step in his recovery from back surgery, joining the Sox on the three-city road trip. If everything goes well, his best guess has him back on the mound by late July or early August, although it's too far away to say that with any confidence.

Avisail Garcia is also in tow -- he's said before that he gets frustrated by watching games, but the Sox want him to keep his head in the game, perhaps as a prelude to winter ball.

The concept behind Effective Velocity isn't revolutionary in and of itself, because everybody knows it's a bad idea to hang a breaking ball on the inner half, and that low heat is easier to hit than high heat. But this story goes into how Perry Husband quantifies it, and the most interesting point to White Sox fans might be hidden in a quote from Husband that the author shared in the comments:

"The average release point is about 5.5 feet off the ground. Pitchers on the Astros, every one of them, are over six feet tall. The reason: The front office got guys who could throw downhill, because they bought into the cliché that throwing downhill is the way to go. But virtually every elite pitcher, with just a few exceptions, are under 5.5 feet in their release point. Chris Sale is at 4.5 feet. Max Scherzer is a little bit over 5 feet. The guys who are great are throwing uphill, which helps them hide their stuff."

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