Kris Medlen wasn’t expected to return from elbow reconstruction surgery until mid to late August, but the way he’s progressing right now there’s a chance it could be even sooner.
Medlen has suffered no major setbacks in his recovery, which typically requires 12 months. He’s begun mixing in his curveballs in his bullpen sessions. He’s scheduled to throw a 90-pitch side session on Tuesday and if all goes well could be throwing live batting practice by the end of the week.
“It’s close,” said Medlen, who would likely go to extended spring training when the Braves hit the road Friday. “I can’t wait until the official test to see if my stuff is just as good as before, so I can see people trying to swing at it. It feels good; I just don’t know if it’s actually good or not.”
Once Medlen starts throwing live batting practice, he’ll build up like Braves pitchers do in spring training and eventually work up to minor league rehabilitation games. The versatile Medlen could come back as a reliever or as a starter, depending on what the Braves needs are, but the relief route is faster.