Medlen headed for MRI Thursday on elbow – updated

Braves right-hander Kris Medlen left Wednesday’s game against the Mets with a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and could be facing season-ending surgery.

The 24-year-old starter is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Thursday and is headed for the disabled list.

Just the designation “ulnar collateral ligament” is a scary proposition for Medlen and the Braves because that’s the elbow ligament for which pitchers require “Tommy John” ligament transplant surgery and typically need 12-18 months to recover. Medlen said he felt a burning sensation on one pitch to Jose Reyes.

“No pop or anything, it just started burning, really tight,” Medlen said. “I don’t know. I’ve never felt it before, so it was reason for some kind of concern.”

If Medlen needs surgery, the Braves would lose him for the rest of the season and likely at least half of next.

The Braves have Kenshin Kawakami in the bullpen whom they could put back in the rotation. But he has pitched just once in the past six weeks – in relief against the Brewers on July 16 – since losing his starting job to Medlen. And Kawakami is 1-9 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 starts this season.

“I don’t know,” Cox said when asked if he’d turn to Kawakami. “He hasn’t pitched in so long.”

The Braves appear poised to turn to minor league prospect Mike Minor. The left-hander and last year’s first-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt, is 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA in five starts for Triple-A Gwinnett.

Medlen left with one out in the fifth inning, after giving up a single to Luis Castillo and a sacrifice bunt to pitcher Mike Pelfrey. He had just thrown a 1-2 change-up to Reyes, when he immediately favored his right arm. He hesitated before taking the rubber again, which drew Braves manager Bobby Cox and assistant trainer Jim Lovell out to the mound.

“When I try to mess with it and test it a little bit, there’s definitely a little bit of pain,” Medlen said afterward. “Just disappointed.”

170 comments Add your comment

eskippy

August 4th, 2010
9:15 pm

Ryan

August 4th, 2010
9:20 pm

Updates? Anyone

PR_Bravo

August 4th, 2010
9:21 pm

So, is KK back in the rotation or are we going to see Minor?

greenvegas

August 4th, 2010
9:25 pm

I was worried about his arm when we made him pitch in relief several times in between starts. Just seemed dangerous to me

[...] Dave O’Brien weighs in on the injury from Turner Field. [...]

Chpatt

August 4th, 2010
9:28 pm

MIKE MINOR! MIKE MINOR! PLEASE!

Brave in NJ

August 4th, 2010
9:29 pm

Tommy John surgery is probable and we won’t see him for 18 months. Dump KK and bring someone up or go get Zambrano.

hucker

August 4th, 2010
9:33 pm

Please — no KK.

wxwax

August 4th, 2010
9:34 pm

Dang. I feel bad for the young man.

Good luck, son.

siskel_god

August 4th, 2010
9:35 pm

Crappy time to lose Resop. I guess we’ll be seeing Minor soon, how many innings has he thrown this year?

Captain Lou Albano

August 4th, 2010
9:36 pm

Dood is there a way we could give this injury to Kawakami instead of Medlen? I mean he really needs a valid excuse to why he sucks.

Matt the Brave

August 4th, 2010
9:36 pm

I sincerely doubt that they’ll turn to KK for the long term. He might get one start, but he’ll more than likely be put back in the pen and they’ll bring up Minor or Redman.

FJ10

August 4th, 2010
9:36 pm

It’s gonna be KK. If he can’t compete they’ll call up Minor.

siskel_god

August 4th, 2010
9:37 pm

@ Brave in NJ

More like 12 months and no way do we touch Big Z. Overpayed psycho.

Scedder

August 4th, 2010
9:38 pm

Kawakami is not an option. It will either have to be someone from Gwinnett or look for a possible waiver. Kawakami hasn’t pitched in weeks and we he has in relief he looked absolutely terrible. Pretty sure Wren and Co. are already looking at a solution.

DaveinNEPA

August 4th, 2010
9:39 pm

Boy, the hits just keep on comin, don’t they!

I really like the way this kid handles himself. I hope he doesn’t need surgery but it doesn’t sound promising.

And please Frank Wren, no more Kawakami, bring up Minor.

Azariah

August 4th, 2010
9:40 pm

nostrikezone.tk

Bravesfansince66

August 4th, 2010
9:41 pm

What a shame…

I hope we see Minor as Redman has not been that great at the MLB level!

the cox man

August 4th, 2010
9:41 pm

KK jinks the kid so he can get back in. good mojo

Football Fan

August 4th, 2010
9:41 pm

KK is under contract for a huge amount. Unfortunately he will start.

Bravesfansince66

August 4th, 2010
9:42 pm

Bobby has lost the rest of his mind…Troy PH again! Ready for a weak gronder @ an infielder or a check swing SO.

Chip Caray's Eyebrows

August 4th, 2010
9:43 pm

Kawakami is not stretched out enough. Why tax your bullpen? Someone will have to be called up from tripple A if Medlen goes on DL. They can call up a guy like Minor and he’s already stretched out, not to mention pitching very well. Hopefully only thing that comes into play is if scouts think he is ready, not arbitration clock, Kawakami’s salary/ego etc. because at this point the best starter should be starting.

Bravesfansince66

August 4th, 2010
9:43 pm

Well at least he didn’t swing at ball 4!

jrbirdman

August 4th, 2010
9:44 pm

Looks like KK might not be ‘unhappy’ in the bullpen in five days. Bet Bobby is wishing the Pirates hadn’t picked up Resop earlier today.

Scedder

August 4th, 2010
9:47 pm

Resop isn’t that big of a deal seeing O’Flaherty will be back after a couple of minor league outings.

Blk. Peter Gammonds

August 4th, 2010
9:51 pm

This is why Kawakami should have been pitching more. He has not pitched bad. He just has not had any run support(like the rest of the staff). Now you might(and should) need him and he probably isn’t fresh(stamina wise) to be affective. Mismanagement!! Actually, he looked pretty good his last start years ago. : ) Get the bats that are hot even if you have to go to AAA to get it done. They shipped away the only true bunter on the team to the Royals, so if you run into a pitcher that is lights out you have no choice but to swing the bat. And oh yeah, asking your sluggers to bunt ain’t gonna work.

mike hampton

August 4th, 2010
9:52 pm

tell him to suck it up and pitch through the injury

jrbirdman

August 4th, 2010
9:53 pm

Any chance Venters can be a fifth starter?

mike hampton

August 4th, 2010
9:54 pm

@ blk peter gammonds
KK pitching more??? If he pitched more that would mean medlen wouldn’t have been…..and medlen has been lights out

The Real Gwinnett Braves Bible.com

August 4th, 2010
9:55 pm

Here are Minor’s number at Gwinnett:

4-1 / 1.99 ERA / 31.2 IP / 10 BB / 35 K

The kid is the second rated pitching prospect in the Braves system behind Julio Teheran.

And Minor’s nickname is ” Spike”

hucker

August 4th, 2010
9:55 pm

Sorry to see Medlen go down — hope it’s not as serious as it sounds. Would they bring up Mike Minor. Just don’t see KK.

Dr. Dave

August 4th, 2010
9:58 pm

KK has been a complete disaster for 2 seasons. His fatsball is straight as an arrow and predictable. We should bring minor up.

Robby

August 4th, 2010
10:04 pm

I vote for Minor!

taylor s

August 4th, 2010
10:05 pm

Minor has already thrown 118 innings this year. Any one know if they are trying to keep him around 150?

Churchy

August 4th, 2010
10:06 pm

Isn’t Venters being groomed to be the next Closer.

DL Medlen. Let KK make 3 starts and re-evaluate after that.
DL Glaus to give him a rest. Let Freeman start at 1B while Glaus is out.
Call up Glaus after 15 days. Send Freeman back down if doesn’t excell. Let Freeman continue to start if he does well. Freeman may be the spark the Braves need.

jrbirdman

August 4th, 2010
10:08 pm

Second Churchy!

Jim

August 4th, 2010
10:09 pm

Season’s Over!!

Coach (2011 or Bust)

August 4th, 2010
10:10 pm

Yep, Kawakami just got his job back. The only good news to all this that not many teams can just plug in another pitcher like the Braves are about to do.

Blk. Peter Gammonds

August 4th, 2010
10:11 pm

Churchy go and apply for the skipper position NOW!

adam

August 4th, 2010
10:13 pm

It’s all about money. KK will start.

doubled

August 4th, 2010
10:15 pm

KK is ok.Just had some bad luck with run support.If Medlen is out for any time.Be thankful.

Captain Lou Albano

August 4th, 2010
10:22 pm

Defenders of KK, please realize that the guy won one game this year. And I watched that game and the umpires definitely found another way to screw the Detroit Tigers. The guy can pitch, but can not win a game to save his life. Bravos should take a chance on someone from the minors.

Bob Horner had a big fro

August 4th, 2010
10:22 pm

Uh oh. Please, no KK. Please, please, please. I vote for Minor. Let’s hope Medlen is just a strain. How much did getting hit by the Cincy pitcher affect this injury?

cheese

August 4th, 2010
10:26 pm

seems like christhian martinez might get the call up. Kawakami can’t be ready now, Minor isn’t on the 40 man roster and is probably limited on innings. Martinez doesn’t have bad numbers with a 1.05 WHIP, only walked 8 in 49 innings.

rugburn

August 4th, 2010
10:28 pm

i don’t mind kk. he usually gave us 5-6 good innings. the problem is bobby cox… he always let kk pitch too long, always waited until multiple runners got on and then put in chavez to let the runs score. i’d like to see how many of his runs allowed scored after he was out of the game bc never put his “A” relievers in to protect kk’s leads

dawginDC

August 4th, 2010
10:30 pm

He’s done for the year…..Time to bring up Minor or KK back into the rotation….

ScottBravesfan

August 4th, 2010
10:31 pm

lol at the guy saying season over because our 5th starter went down.

They will call up Mike Minor to make start if Medlen goes on DL. KK is done in the rotation.

bob

August 4th, 2010
10:31 pm

I read about Kawakami’s frustration just this afternoon. Medlin shouldn’t have turned his back on him. Remember Pearl Harbor!

Stuart

August 4th, 2010
10:32 pm

KK hasn’t been that bad; he just hasn’t had any run support. Now KK can get back in the rotation… just hope his first start back isn’t too rough (as he has been sitting for what seems like forever).

braveguy

August 4th, 2010
10:34 pm

The phillies are coming fast, we don’t have time to test and see how guys do. Go with minor, kk has had the chance and sucked.

braveguy

August 4th, 2010
10:36 pm

Kenshin hasn’t pitched since July 16th and hasn’t started since June 26th. I don’t see how you can start a guy who hasn’t pitched more than one inning in the last month and a half.

Braves

August 4th, 2010
10:38 pm

PLEASE. No more Kenshin Kawakami. Trust me. I seen him pitch this year and it really its NOT good.

Season is NOT over...

August 4th, 2010
10:42 pm

Send KK to the minors. Bring Minor up. Let both pitch as starters and evaluate after 2 or 3 starts.

KK gets work in to :rebuild” stamina. Minor gets the opportunity to prove he can hack it.

If Minor gets the job done then no problem. If Minor doesn’t and KK piches well, bring him back up.

hAL

August 4th, 2010
10:42 pm

what we need worse then a 5th starter is sonmone in the two hole who can actually hit the poser cost us a few runs tonight lol im thinking were lucky we have kk what would the nats or mets do call up a rookie whoo succks is what lol

atlwolf

August 4th, 2010
10:44 pm

Strange how this happens on the day the AJC runs a story about Kawakami being unhappy in his new role.

Chip Shot

August 4th, 2010
10:44 pm

KK cannot be sent to the minors.

hAL

August 4th, 2010
10:44 pm

everyone was worried about the 3,4spots but that has not been the problem of late maybe melky should move to right field lol

Steve

August 4th, 2010
10:45 pm

I seen him? Wow.

rugburn

August 4th, 2010
10:52 pm

did we turn j-hey into a slap hitter by putting him in the 2-hole? chipper only hits these days with no one on base, like tonight. with as many times that chipper has hit with prado and j-hey on , he should lead the league in rbis. no production in the 3-hole is a killer.

JMAYNE

August 4th, 2010
10:53 pm

KK is not ready to throw five innings. Kill em with the stats.
Minor’s starts @GWNT
Jul 1: 7.2 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 3 bb, 9 so
Jul 6: 5 ip, 5 h, 1 r, 2 bb, 6 so
Jul 19: 6 ip, 2 r (1HR), 1 bb, 5 so
July 24: 6 ip, 4 h, 3 r, 2 bb, 7 so
Jul 30: 7 ip, 1 h, 0 r, 2 bb, 8 so

Ill take Minor. Haha. No doubt. Only reason why it might not happen is he is due to pitch friday for trip-A and the braves need him on sunday. Already hasnt pitched in 5 days. that would make over a week between starts. but maybe have him throw a bullpen tomorrow. Please not KK

BATMAN

August 4th, 2010
10:55 pm

John Smoltz was a wonderful pitcher and from what I can see is fine individual but I am so tired of him anylizing every pitch I can`t listem any more . I turn off the sound and just watch the screen . He is boring me to death . I don`t want to learn how to pitch .

Braves

August 4th, 2010
10:56 pm

Look at Kenshin Kawakami stats. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. He needs some work before he can be a starter.

rugburn

August 4th, 2010
10:59 pm

kk’s stats are not much different than lowe’s or hansons. just the run support is different and the relievers bc uses

Braves

August 4th, 2010
11:00 pm

Tell Glavine to get ready.

Mathman

August 4th, 2010
11:02 pm

There is no doubt it will be KK as the starter. Martinez or Kimbrel may come up to replace Medlin on the roster, until O’Flaherty is ready. KK will get a chance to fail and Bobby will use him until it is obvious he is failing. Then, maybe Minor will get a shot, maybe.

cattle dawg

August 4th, 2010
11:02 pm

How good are the Gwinnett Braves? I would think kk gets a start or two.

rugburn

August 4th, 2010
11:03 pm

tell smoltz to break out the knuckleball again, maybe he and glavine can go 3 innings each. at least we couldn’t hear smoltz

Mathman

August 4th, 2010
11:04 pm

Maybe, the Braves should audition Smoltz and Glavine and sign the one who looks the best.

Flyboy

August 4th, 2010
11:07 pm

I agree with Batman…and I also had to turn off the sound…Smoltz simply would not shut up for a moment..a cacophony of cliches and mostly worthless info – even for a serious baseball fan….I too am a big fan of him as a pitcher, but he is plain awful as an analyst…where is Joe Simpson when we need him – he’s the best I have ever heard.

sid's bream

August 4th, 2010
11:09 pm

weird that this article posted today and Medlen went down within a few hours.
I guess this story doesn’t matter any more since he will probably have his starting spot back now.
hopefully the braves score more runs for him this time around.

rugburn

August 4th, 2010
11:09 pm

maybe we can get maddog back from the cubs. we can give them chip caray. we’re getting the band back together

IlliniBrave

August 4th, 2010
11:10 pm

DOB: any chance the Braves just DFA KK? Based on Cox’s response to your question, and KK’s comments in your interview, it seems he is personan non grata. If the Braves are going to pay him but not play him, doesn’t it make sense to just let him go? At least then it frees up a roster spot.

sid's bream

August 4th, 2010
11:10 pm

sorry, i was trying to reference the KK “didn’t come here to be a reliever article” but the link didn’t make it in the post.

The Real Gwinnett Braves Bible.com

August 4th, 2010
11:11 pm

Cattle Dawg,

The G Braves record this season is 52-58. Not sure what the G Braves record has to do with anything in regard to the Braves bringing up either Minor or Freeman.

Minor and Freeman have been outstanding this year. Minor has made 5 starts with Gwinnett and his numbers have been very impressive. I’ve seen him pitch twice, and Minor is a very good looking prospect.

I believe the Braves have seen enough of KK( there’s a reason why he hasnt pitched in 30 something games), and Minor will get called up if Medlen goes on the DL.

http://gwinnettbravesbible.com/

Chip Shot

August 4th, 2010
11:12 pm

if Minor gets called up and Freeman doesnt ALSO i have lost all interest in this years team.

sid's bream

August 4th, 2010
11:13 pm

How about the bring Freeman up to take medlan’s spot? KK wasn’t pitching anyway, so it’s not like they would be short a pitcher. Give him a chance at first. He can’t be worse than Glaus. he has earned it from tearing up AAA pitching and at least his legs work.

Blk. Peter Gammonds

August 4th, 2010
11:14 pm

When KK pitched it was like all the Braves players Great-grandfather were WWII veterans and they still had a grudge. Nobody gave him any cusion to pitch comfortably. It is hard to pitch like every inning it is the bottom of the 9th tied. Those situations are not condusive for a pitcher when he has to be that fine with his pitches.

The Real Gwinnett Braves Bible.com

August 4th, 2010
11:14 pm

Chip Shot,

Iagree, the Braves should ring up the 2 for 1 combo from Gwinnett.

http://gwinnettbravesbible.com/

Jorge Campillo

August 4th, 2010
11:15 pm

What ever happened to Jorge Campillo? He was good for a while!

Peter Gammons

August 4th, 2010
11:16 pm

WOW what a bunch of num nuts on this blog. Old fat dudes who never played ball just a bunch of stat readers!!!!!!!!

Chip Shot

August 4th, 2010
11:16 pm

im starting to like you Gwinnett Braves Bible.

Read ur stuff when i first saw you comment a couple days ago.
ive gone there every day now

Keith

August 4th, 2010
11:18 pm

I would say that due to Bobby’s reaction about KK, they’ll turn to Minor…I mentioned that to my brother as we were watching the game tonight….I kind of hope so….

The Real Gwinnett Braves Bible.com

August 4th, 2010
11:19 pm

Chip Shot,

Thanks for the compliment and for checking out the site. I’ve been following the Braves minor leagues for several years, and love seeing and talking about the Braves minor league system.

Chip Shot

August 4th, 2010
11:20 pm

well since we have so many good prospects ill go there for some good updates from you.

The Real Gwinnett Braves Bible.com

August 4th, 2010
11:21 pm

Keith,
There’s no comparison in the talent level of Minor and KK.

Minor is the future, and KK was a mistake.

Typical Braves Fan

August 4th, 2010
11:23 pm

Season’s over!!!! Bobby and Wren are happy that this happened because they hate winning!!! If we lose one more game this season I’m gonna become a Padres fan. Send Glaus, Hinske, Chipper, Lowe, Ankiel, and McCan to the minors. Bring back Yunel, Blanco, JoJo. Trade JoJo and prospects for Braun!!!

The Real Gwinnett Braves Bible.com

August 4th, 2010
11:23 pm

Chip Shot,

Please do. I’ll be heading to Birmingham on Sat to catch Teheran pitch for Mississippi.

Can’t wait to see him.

Justafan

August 4th, 2010
11:24 pm

Its Bobbys fault KK has not pitcher in 30 plus days. Talking about the GREAT MGR taking care of his players… more BS… DOB Report said Cox has not talk to KK in 30 days. Thats a great mgr, right?
God Bless the day BC is gone……….

Chip Shot

August 4th, 2010
11:26 pm

The Real Gwinnett Braves Bible.com,

I heard he pitches like Huddy and he had a no-no last night so its safe to say hes the future too. isnt he only 19?

Smarty

August 4th, 2010
11:26 pm

With Medlen probably gone I wonder if Cox can get arrested for contributing to a ‘Minor’. :)

Braves

August 4th, 2010
11:27 pm

How old is KK again? Enough said.

ABravesFan

August 4th, 2010
11:28 pm

Get well soon, Medlen.

Chip Shot

August 4th, 2010
11:29 pm

Agreed, He’ll hel for the stretch run when he comes back late next year in the pen.

Steve

August 4th, 2010
11:30 pm

Answers –

No, Venters is NOT being groomed to be the next closer. That would be Kimbrel. Venters is a future starter and was pitching very well at Gwinnett in his 12 starts.

KK is still the best choice, but Bobby’s reaction might not prove that out. Why? It doesn’t start any clocks ticking. If they think Minor will be in the rotation before July of next year, then fine .. bring him up. Otherwise it just costs us one year of control for an unknown commodity in the next 2 months. Don’t even try to compare the minor leagues to the majors and assume he will put up an ERA below KK.

As for KK.. we are paying him anyway. His ERA is only an insignificant amount below that of Lowe and Jurrgens, so he is getting a lot of crap thrown his way due to poor run support. I certainly don’t see anyone clamoring to remove Jurrgens from the rotation. Get off the hate bandwagon. With his current ERA Kawakami would still rank as one of the best 5th starters in the league.

tommy hawk

August 4th, 2010
11:32 pm

so you ask about kawakami and don’t ask the obvious question of cox:

why the HELL was medlen pitching in relief. seemed like a major risk. why didnt they throw KK in there to keep him fresh? you have some gimpy Ps in hudson and jurjens who came off a big injury already.

Biff Pocaroba

August 4th, 2010
11:32 pm

Tough break for Medlen. Tougher, yet, for the Braves. Prediction: Wren will scan the waiver wire and put a claim in on someone’s No. 5 starter — anyone he can pick up for dirt cheap. No way Minor get the call, and it’s fairly obvious Bobby has no faith in KK or he would have painted this one with roses, too (”We’ll be okay. KK is a starter and I’m sure he’ll be just fine.”) Nope. Didn’t hear him say anything like that and that should tell you all you need to know about KK’s stock as a starter. Don’t be surprised if a “Kevin Milwood” type shows up here by next week. ugh!

The Real Gwinnett Braves Bible.com

August 4th, 2010
11:34 pm

Chip Shot,

Teheran is only 19. According to scouts, he throws in the mid 90’s, with a nasty changeup. He also has a good feel for pitching, and makes adjustments very quickly.

The Real Gwinnett Braves Bible.com

August 4th, 2010
11:35 pm

And Teheran is the number 1 pitching prospect in the Braves system, and according to some, he might be the top pitching prospect in the minors next year.

The Real Gwinnett Braves Bible.com

August 4th, 2010
11:37 pm

Biff,
Just curious, why is there no way that Minor wouldnt get called up?

John

August 4th, 2010
11:39 pm

ugh…i think im gonna throw up. Medlen was my favorite starter. I can see Venters being thrown into the mix and call up Kimbrel to cover his spot. If not we MUST bring up Minor or this season is OVER! Medlen was our second best pitcher and KK CAN NOT replace what Medlen has done.

If KK is used then this season is over

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