After about two weeks off following a setback with scar tissue breakup, Kris Medlen is back throwing off a bullpen mound. He threw 60 pitches without problem on Wednesday as he starts his climb again to return from elbow reconstruction surgery.
Medlen is not throwing curveballs with any regularity. He’s going to ease back into throwing his third pitch, which is what he was throwing when he felt a scar tissue pop on May 31. But he said his biggest obstacle is now mental, not physical, and trusting his arm again.
“It’s the last hurdle for everybody who goes through this,” Medlen said. “You know your arm is strong. You know it’s sturdy and ready to go, it’s just the mental part. It’s that whole release of being able to let it go. I can feel myself, once I’m trying to throw it as hard as I can, my body is like ‘oh,’ and I guide it through. It doesn’t feel as fluid as I want it to yet, but that’s the last hurdle.”
As the Braves headed for the West Coast, Medlen was headed back to the Braves complex in Orlando. He has a one-way airline ticket and plans to stay there until he’s on the cusp of being ready to return, starting with bullpen sessions to live batting practice and possibly even his minor league rehabilitation. He could pitch in Gulf Coast League games.
The setback cost him a possible return in late July. Mid-August would still put him at the typical 12 months recovery, but Medlen is not putting a date on it.
“I am over trying to give myself a timetable,” said Medlen, pointing to his elbow. “It’s obviously going to depend on this guy.”