Kris Medlen made his case. It was a good one.
The Braves right-hander won a spot in the starting rotation after filling in for the injured Jair Jurrjens, who returned to the mound Wednesday. With Jurrjens’ return, Kenshin Kawakami was moved to the bullpen.
“I wasn’t going in trying to make it a competition, battling KK out for the last spot,” Medlen said. “It wasn’t anything like that. I just wanted to go out and fill in for JJ while he was gone and I did that.”
Medlen (5-1, 3.15 ERA) will make his next start Friday against the Marlins.
In nine starts since Jurrjens went on the disabled list on April 29 with a hamstring injury, Medlen went 4-0 with a 3.42 ERA. He struck out 37 and walked just 10. Medlen won three games in June, with 22 strikeouts and four walks, to strengthen his chances of remaining in the rotation.
Kawakami (1-9, 4.48) got his first win in his last start on Saturday.
“Win-loss wise we weren’t winning when KK was pitching, even though if you look at his numbers he wasn’t doing awful at all,” Medlen said. “He goes out and battles his butt off every single time. It just worked out that way.”
Medlen admitted that he did think about whether or not he would return to the bullpen once Jurrjens was healthy. However, his main concern was winning ball games – and he did that.
“I’m definitely starting to get used to [starting] again,” Medlen said. “I like being able to prepare for my outing and then just having a day to throw it all out there.”