Braves’ Beachy leaves early with elbow tightness

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CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - Brandon Beachy became the second straight Atlanta starting pitcher to leave early because of an arm problem, exiting the Braves’ 8-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday because of tightness around his right elbow.

After pitching two innings instead of a scheduled four, Beachy sounded optimistic.

“I’m not worried about it at all,” he said. “I’ve seen the doctors and they’ve done everything. My ligament is fine. I’ve got some inflammation in there and it got a little too tight in my bicep. It was just a little unproductive to keep pushing it.”

Beachy gave up two hits and two walks in a scoreless outing.

“I didn’t come in here feeling 100 percent,” he said. “This is something I’ve been dealing with. It had been getting easier the harder I threw and the harder I pushed. Today it just got a little tight on me.”

The 27-year-old righty has been limited to 18 starts in the last two seasons while battling elbow ailments.

On Sunday, projected opening day starter Kris Medlen grabbed his right elbow and walked in the middle of the fourth against the Mets. The Braves later said he had a strained right forearm and would undergo further tests.

Jason Heyward homered on Cliff Lee’s second pitch of the game, sending a drive over the fence and beyond the palm trees on the concourse at Bright House Field. It was Heyward’s third homer.

“Fastball in and he put a good swing on it,” Lee said. “You have to give him credit.”

Atlanta’s Dan Uggla hit his first home run. Freddie Freeman, Chris Johnson and B.J. Upton each had two hits.

STARTING TIME

Phillies: Lee served up a home run to Heyward to begin his third outing of the spring, but was mostly encouraged with his start. He allowed two runs on three hits while striking out five and walking one in 3 2-3 innings.

“Throwing strikes is the name of the game,” said Lee, who hadn’t walked a batter in five innings before this start. “I had one walk and I’m not real happy about that. For the most part I was throwing strikes and working ahead and making them swing the bat.”

ITCHING FOR PITCHING

Even before Beachy left early, Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez was praising the organization’s pitching depth.

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