Kawakami, not Medlen, is headed to bullpen

Kenshin Kawakami is headed to the bullpen to open a spot for Jair Jurrjens, who is finally fit to pitch again for the Braves.

Manager Bobby Cox announced after Monday night’s game that Jurrjens would start Wednesday’s series finale against the Nationals and  that Kawakami would be the odd man out of the rotation.

Kris Medlen, who has pitched better as a starter than Kawakami, will stay in the rotation. Medlen had moved from the bullpen to fill in for Jurrjens initially, but now he’ll remain and Kawakami (1-9) will go to a relief role.

“I’m really excited,” said Jurrjens,  who’s been sidelined since April 29 by a pulled left hamstring that he reinjured in mid-May. “It’s like making my major league debut again, I’ve been out such a long time.

“Just coming back, we have a good vibe going on and I hope I can fit in and help the team keep winning.”

Cox has said getting Jurrjens back would be like trading for a top starting pitcher. The right-hander went 14-10 last season with a 2.60 ERA that was the third-lowest among National League starters.

Jurrjens was plagued by a series of injuries this year beginning with an inflamed shoulder that set him back three weeks during spring training.

He was 0-3 with a 6.38 ERA in five starts in April, with eight of his 17 earned runs allowed coming in a 3-1/3-inning outing at San Diego.

He had a 3.91 ERA in his other four starts, and received only 1.5 offensive support runs per nine innings pitched before his injury.

62 comments Add your comment

Wes

June 28th, 2010
8:48 pm

I sure hope Cox rewards Medlen by letting him stay in the starting rotation. Sure Kenshin got a win and hasn’t pitched as bad as his record, but 1-9 is still 1-9, and Medlen deserves to start.

2nd

June 28th, 2010
8:50 pm

Enter your comments here2nd

athdog

June 28th, 2010
9:41 pm

How is there even a question as to who goes to the pen? It has to be KK, doesn’t it? It’s too bizarre to contemplate KK staying in the rotation over Medlen.

dick

June 28th, 2010
9:41 pm

I agree…Medlen deserves to stay. I like Kawakami, he’s a stand-up, no-excuse guy, but Medlen has out pitched him. It’s a long season, and Kenshin may well be starting again.

The Funky 1

June 28th, 2010
9:57 pm

Let’s keep the kid up and starting until he proves he should be in the pen. Let’s get Kenshin in there for some long relief and other relief situations. Medlen has looked great and letting him continue, gain confidence and experience will be great come playoff time. Boy do we have a very nice rotation look right now and for the near future.

BravesFanInPA

June 28th, 2010
10:02 pm

what about possibly skipping hanson for a start so he can work on a couple things and just take a step back

Wes

June 28th, 2010
10:02 pm

If KK is really back though, and he pitches good, the Braves could really get some good players for Medlen. I like him and would love for him to stay, but you might could get some really good players for him. Either a centerfielder for now(I’m not up to date enough to know who’s available), or some minor league players for later.

A starting pitcher pitching like Medlen is right now is always valuable.

Chip Caray's Eyebrows

June 28th, 2010
10:27 pm

The fact that they are taking this long to make the decision really worries me. I have no idea how you look Medlen in the eye and tell him to go back to the pen for mop up duty. A lot of folks talk about chemistry and things like that, a move of that nature would definitely put pressure on this team’s chemistry. It doesn’t have to be about Kawakami, make it about how well Medlen has pitched. The players know who has consistently given the team the better chance to win, gone deeper into games etc. and a move made for monetary reasons would be horrible. I’m sorry, but a start in the shaddows (the Tigers said they couldn’t see anything half the time) doesn’t undo what he has done in some of his starts. He got his win, now let him help the team from the pen.

Ryan

June 28th, 2010
10:36 pm

Hayward to the DL. Whats the word DOB?

hAL

June 28th, 2010
10:44 pm

if haystacks going to the dl we must be going to see some tough pitching ahead ohh wheres the guy wo said this would be our last day in first for that too happen his muts would have to win as for the sillys well thewy seem to think there the only team in the league now if that were true perhaps theyd be first but….

hAL

June 28th, 2010
10:45 pm

as for medlin kk to pen who cares i think the guy above who said skip hanson may have actually watcxhed some of the recent games by the way jj wasnt exacly throwin up zeros in qwinnet

Chief Pitchanono

June 28th, 2010
10:58 pm

Hate to hear they have to DL heyward, but at least he’s going to be able to get some treatment, much better than the “its not gonna heal untill the off season” stuff that we’ve been hearing for the past six weeks. Too bad it took this long. Congrads to Medlen on the rotation spot, only thing that makes me nervous is that they may be showing him for a possible trade. If they do we better get somebody really good.

the cox man

June 28th, 2010
11:03 pm

Kris Medlen will get his pot of gold via free agent and that is all that matters. Go Kris i love you.

adelfersy

June 28th, 2010
11:19 pm

Tim Tebow=stephen stausberg. ESPN always gets caught up in the hype machine…Don’t get me wrong, I think the kid was very good tonight, however, he was clearly outpitched. Instead of lauding the braves performance, they kept talking about something possibly being “wrong” with strausberg and how he just didn’t have his “best stuff” tonight. How about the fact that maybe some of his earlier dominance came against horrible teams, i.e. the Pirates and the Royals etc. Tonight a very good rookie pitched against the NL’s best team and their Ace and it showed. Its not like the Bravos defense did Huddy any favors either.

DaveinNEPA

June 28th, 2010
11:21 pm

WES “Braves could get some really good players for Medlen.”

Are you out of your mind? If anybody goes down the road in a trade, it would be KK, not Medlen.

Medlen is young, cheap and talented. This team is also in first place and Medlen is one of the reasons for that. There’s absolutely no way that Wren would be stupid enough to trade off Medlen in the middle of a pennant race to keep Kawakami. Trades are made for the purpose of strenghening a team, not weakening them.

gcs

June 28th, 2010
11:33 pm

I hope JJ is ready. He looked like crap at Gwinnett.

They had BETTER put Kawakami in the bullpen instead of Medlen. I don’t care how much KK makes.

.

Randnotell

June 28th, 2010
11:37 pm

I think Kawakami will do a great job in a middle to long relief role. In a lot of his games, I feel like he’s pitched 4 or 5 good innings then given away 1-2 bad ones, so a situation where he’d pitch 2+ innings every few games is the best option for the way he’s been playing this year. And, of course, this will give our bullpen some additional relief. They haven’t been overutilized this year as they have in past years, but the more hands on deck the better.

Joey M

June 28th, 2010
11:40 pm

Medlen has done everything he can to earn a spot in the starting rotation. I personally would not be upset if we skipped Tommy Hanson’s next start and let Johnny Venters start in his place. Venters is a starter. He throws almost as hard as David Price. He has an off speed pitch that is unhittable. Hanson is missing something. I would like it if he did the Tommy John recovery workout during the off season. But let Hanson rest and give Venters his first MLB start.

Bob

June 28th, 2010
11:41 pm

KK to the bullpen of the Tokyo Giants. Take Saito with him.

Agree with most

June 29th, 2010
12:01 am

Think Hanson needs a skip. And holding my breath about JJ; these hitters are better than Gwinnett’s competition. Give KK one more try and Please do not trade Medlen. We will Never have too many quality pitchers. Besides we give them away for injured or rental players.

BK

June 29th, 2010
12:08 am

Might want to erase text from previous article, you tell us K’kami’s going to the pen, then in the next paragraph, you say Bobby won’t say who is going to bullpen. Congrats on KK getting that win before he goes to long relief though!

Chris from the Rock

June 29th, 2010
12:26 am

Glad to see Medlen stay in the rotation. Unfortunately, now with KK coming out of the pen, that racist idiot who makes all the comments about Asians will be exhibiting his bigotry 3 times a week, rather than every fifth day.

Keith

June 29th, 2010
12:28 am

Yes, David, did you write this story in the same sitting? :)

Good move, Cox. *holds breath that JJ will be back to form eventually*

hAL

June 29th, 2010
1:05 am

i think huddy might have erased some of those wrens an idiot for resighning husdson comments huh ohh wait i forgot the idiot that submitted that dosent actually watch the games

hAL

June 29th, 2010
1:06 am

tonight pitching was very much a pitcher vs a thrower but damn that kid throws hard !!!

bravesfanbob

June 29th, 2010
1:38 am

How about a trade to the Mariners for Cliff Lee. Freddie Freeman and KK. He would be a much better fit in Seattle, and would probably be a winning pitcher. Freeman has a lot of potential that I don’t believe he will live up to, but maybe the Mariners do. Lee is definitely gone from Seattle after this year, and we probably won’t re-sign him either, but he could be the difference in a possible playoff berth, and a World Series title. This is definitely a fair trade for both teams, with the Braves having a lot more to lose in Freeman if he lives up to the potential. But next year, we could either re-sign Glaus, or sign Adam Dunn. If we could get Dunn to play the outfield, he could be another trade for possibility. Being Cox’s last year, I think management will go all out to let him win.

Reality 4

June 29th, 2010
2:39 am

@Prado

Well, we are in the South – what’s so surprising about the racism…

Alaska Braves Fan

June 29th, 2010
3:09 am

dick:

I totally with your comment. KK is a stand-up guy, and he has pitched well. He’s sort of the poster boy for a hard luck fellow. Still, Medlen simply has outpitched him. I do believe we’ll see KK starting some before the season is over.

I had a bad feeling about Nate McClouth before the season started, and now I’m having a similar feeling about JJ. I just don’t think this year is going to work out for him. Next year, he’ll pitch again at a high level of proficiency, but this year we’ll need BOTH KK and Medlen as starters again because JJ will not be at full strength.

ABF

Gil In Mechanicsville

June 29th, 2010
4:21 am

Reality 4 You are and idiot. I truly resent your implications that all southerners are racist. It has been my vast experience that there is no corner of this wide universe that racism is in short supply. It exist because most people fail to acknowledge their own shortcomings and find it easier to blame others for their own failures. The fact that someone else is different just makes them an easier target.

You are simply falling victim to the same prejudices when you try to stereotype an entire region of people to fit your own narrow view.

The Next Big 3

June 29th, 2010
5:41 am

JJ, Hanson and Medlin are young and have the potential to be as good as Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz. Trade Medlin? I don’t think so. A little more seasoning and some good contract negotiations could set the braves up for several years down the road.

tom

June 29th, 2010
6:47 am

Oh that Bobby…..he can sure make those tough decisions!!

jj

June 29th, 2010
7:07 am

My concern with JJ is that he missed a lot of time in spring training with an injury and after the season started he again was injured.I wonder is he in pitching shape after missing so much time.He didn’t have a normal spring and he struggled before he was hurt.I truely believe The Braves should consider trading for another starter because I believe we can win this thing and right now the only starter that is on point is Hudson.Glad to see Heyward go on DL and get well and will be glad to get Matt back soon.

jj

June 29th, 2010
7:09 am

Forgive me for overlooking Medlin because next to Hudson he’s rocking and rolling.

I hear banjos and the horses are nervous in Covington

June 29th, 2010
7:17 am

I would expect KK to be the long man out of the bullpen to back up Jurrjens first start. Given his short rehab and that he is not stretched, Braves will fortunate if JJ tosses 4-5 effective innings. We will then see KK for 2-3 innings.

If JJ surprises, then Cox would have the option of skipping Hanson’s next turn in favor of KK. Not sure if that is necessary as Tommy was just missing on Sunday. Would hope that Roger works with Tommy on mechanics to sort this out, as he did not seem to be hurting.

Trey

June 29th, 2010
7:26 am

Wes – You are a moron for wanting to trade Medlen just so KK can get to be a starter. Medlen is much better than KK.

JJ

June 29th, 2010
7:46 am

and Trey, medlen’s too good to trade while we can still keep him here. Trade KK, Chaves, Resop, and some prospect like Canizares for a CF, LF, or 3B.

DawgB

June 29th, 2010
8:26 am

We don’t need to trade for pitching. we have as much depth as anyone. Mike minor just got moved up to AAA. So we have an emergency starter available, in case we have another injury or 2 to our starters. While I’m sure there is room for improvement, I don’t see anyone out there, other than a rental, that is better than what we already have. I say we stand pat for now and see what comes up closer to the trade deadline at the end of July.

siskel_god

June 29th, 2010
8:28 am

KK actually has a better ERA than Hanson. I know he has had two horrible starts to inflate those numbers, but if you take out KK’s worst two and Hanson’s worst two KK prolly still has better numbers. For whatever reason he has just had horrible luck, if he and D Lowe swapped spots in the rotation KK might be a nine game winner instead of a nine game loser. KK has got to have some trade value.

SC Smith

June 29th, 2010
8:35 am

Pitching is not what the Braves need. KK is damn near untradeable they are kinda stuck with him. Medlin will not be traded, and why mess up the chemestry on this team? You can maybe add a bat but what’s the price for that. I Don’t see the Braves making any major noise near the deadline this year, nor do they really need to. And as far as Cliff Lee goes, that would be just another Tex type trade, can’t keep giving up players for rent-a-players.

George

June 29th, 2010
8:54 am

Ernie and Joe, John and Joe, Chip and Joe…….Oh How I miss Skip and Pete. These guys NEVER stop talking. The game is enough without the constant banter…..Wow, I feel better

Nick P.

June 29th, 2010
9:01 am

either way they are both great 5th starters! whichever starts, the other will have some opportunity to helpout with spot-starts etc… a good problem to have choosing which!
BTW: I like Venters, but last night proved again that his control is kind of up in the air still, he may only be a one inning guy coming out of the bullpen.

Fredi

June 29th, 2010
9:11 am

It amazes me that even the fact that the players we have has us in first place the pseudo fans want to trade them away for other players.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Ice Cold Beer

June 29th, 2010
9:21 am

Don’t need to trade KK, it’s still a LONG season and injuries are bound to happen. Besides, with his contract, we’d have to eat most of it or get nothing in return.

Chopper

June 29th, 2010
9:30 am

Glad to hear that KK is the guy going to the bullpen. I think this is really what’s best for the team. And who knows, KK had pitched better of late, got the monkey off his back on Saturday (getting his 1st win) and could be a factor out of the pen with Jurrjens’ return. Jurrjens will likely need to build up his endurance over the next couple of weeks, so having a long relief guy (KK) who’s pitching good will be valuable until Jurrjens gets back to form.

wjones

June 29th, 2010
9:41 am

gcs

“June 28th, 2010
11:33 pm
I hope JJ is ready. He looked like crap at Gwinnett.

They had BETTER put Kawakami in the bullpen instead of Medlen. I don’t care how much KK makes.”

Why are you arguing with yourself? Didn’t you read the article?

Melky way

June 29th, 2010
9:45 am

Bob I see you got your Klan robe out of the cleaners. What is it with you with the racist remarks?

no name

June 29th, 2010
9:48 am

We can not trade KK because of his contract. No other team is going to jump at the chance to pay him. So, since the Braves have to pay him, they should mark it up to experience and use him where ever they can get some return for the money, whether starting, bullpen, bat boy, or laundry man. He is not totally to blame for the mess he’s in. With support he is a damn good 3 to 5 inning pitcher.

Melky way

June 29th, 2010
9:48 am

I don’t know when you guys posted but as DOB wrote in his blog Medlen stays in the rotation.

. Don

June 29th, 2010
9:49 am

“Kawakami not Medlin is headed to the Bullpen”!!!
Are we sure that Bobby Cox is still managing the Braves – Or did Wren or Schurholz make this decision for him?
There is one POTENTIAL PROBLEM that is being overlooked. Everyone seems to be assuming that JJ is going to come back in winning form. Are we forgetting that even before the hamstring injury and having nothing to do with the hamstring injury – he had had a shoulder problem this year and had an ERA of about 6.00 and had not won a game this season. Why do we automatically assume that he is not going to come back and be effective. To me the concern about the sholder is a lot more serious than the concern about the hamstring.

Braves Fan Since "80

June 29th, 2010
9:55 am

I am worried about Hanson (short term). He has looked uncomfortable his last three or four starts… I hope it is just a mechanical flaw or growing pains….. it is his body language that worries me… I know pitchers have to learn to work through struggles and OK with that if it is not physical….

Melky way

June 29th, 2010
9:58 am

Don you are right that is why it important to not get rid of any pithers that we have,because we will need the depth.

4williec

June 29th, 2010
10:13 am

KK goes to the pen…Hanson needs to go to Gwinnett.

ppaddy123

June 29th, 2010
11:45 am

Bob

June 28th, 2010
11:41 pm

KK to the bullpen of the Tokyo Giants. Take Saito with him.

Gosh! That comment doesn’t sound the least bit racist!

JJ

June 29th, 2010
1:49 pm

bravesfanbob

June 29th, 2010
1:38 am

How about a trade to the Mariners for Cliff Lee. Freddie Freeman and KK. He would be a much better fit in Seattle, and would probably be a winning pitcher. Freeman has a lot of potential that I don’t believe he will live up to, but maybe the Mariners do. Lee is definitely gone from Seattle after this year, and we probably won’t re-sign him either, but he could be the difference in a possible playoff berth, and a World Series title. This is definitely a fair trade for both teams, with the Braves having a lot more to lose in Freeman if he lives up to the potential. But next year, we could either re-sign Glaus, or sign Adam Dunn. If we could get Dunn to play the outfield, he could be another trade for possibility. Being Cox’s last year, I think management will go all out to let him win.

Hell no! Freeman stays. I don’t want Dunn, strikes out too much. BRing back back Glaus for next year to platoon with Freeman till midseason, then trade him. Cliff Lee thing is interesting, but Minor should be here soon, maybe August, so i don’t think we would need another lefty starter.

Michael Procton

June 29th, 2010
2:38 pm

Absurd. We’ve now gone from 12 above-average pitchers in their role on the staff to 11. What a great move!

Luv 2 Hate Me

June 29th, 2010
2:56 pm

I’m think we have a shot at winning the WS fellas. If we can pick up another outfielder like Deshields from the Royals and ship Mclouth to japan we have a chance.

[...] Take Nation spoke and the Braves listened. Probably not but, Kris Medlen will be staying in the starting rotation. That is a good thing as he has earned the opportunity. Medlen is 5-1 with a 3.15 ERA on the [...]

Kentavo

June 29th, 2010
3:04 pm

i wouldn’t really worry about JJ’s minor league rehab starts; I saw two of Hudson’s last year in Myrtle Beach, and he looked like crap; and look at him now?

chule

June 29th, 2010
4:41 pm

KK stays. Lowe. Hanson and JJ goes to bullpen or reassignment. Cox never gets it right.

Matt

June 29th, 2010
5:25 pm

Thank god!

Medlen has earned the right to start. He’s improved over last year (lower ERA, WHIP, avg. against, and obp against and a higher K to BB ratio) and should get better with experience. Kawakami has been disappointing in his two season in the Majors, has gotten worse this year, and is 35 (so improvement is questionable).

rugburn

June 29th, 2010
9:41 pm

what is worrying me now is moylan. his “save” came on a pitch nearly a foot outside and tonight he has given up a 2r homer. he hasn’t had good command twice in about 6 times out. bc trots him out in almost all of the close games

[...] With Jair Jurrjens returning from the disabled list, Kris Medlen will remain in the Braves rotation and Kenshin Kawakami is headed to the bullpen. [...]

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