6:11 pm May 31, 2011, by Carroll Rogers
Kris Medlen came away from a 90-pitch bullpen session Tuesday afternoon feeling good and ready to take the next step in his return from elbow reconstruction surgery – a big one. Next up, he’ll start facing hitters in live batting practice.
Medlen will head to the Braves complex in Orlando to throw batting practice in extended spring training. If all goes well in six or seven sessions every other day or so, Medlen will be ready for a minor league rehabilitation stint.
“I’ve been anxious the entire time, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s getting close,” said Medlen, who underwent “Tommy John” surgery on Aug. 18, 2010.
The Braves are building him up to return as a starter, which he would be on track to do by mid-to-late August. But if needs call for it, Medlen could return as a reliever, as soon as late July to early August.
“If we need him as a reliever, it’s easier to back him off,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “So maybe end of July, best-case scenario. Maybe early August.”
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