What the Braves thought was a minor setback for Kris Medlen in his recovery from elbow reconstruction surgery will now force them to shut him down for six weeks.
Braves general manager Frank Wren said Wednesday that Medlen is suffering from lingering soreness in his elbow and will now halt is throwing program until September at the earliest.
The Braves had hoped to get Medlen back some time in August, and provide a lift to their bullpen for the stretch run, but now he’ll be doing well to return before the season is out.
Even if his elbow is feeling good enough to start building back up in September, minor league seasons are over by then and it would be hard to find suitable competition for a minor league rehabilitation stint.
“We’re going to have to play that one by ear, as we try to get it calmed down,” Wren said. “…We’ve got our fingers crossed that he can come back this year, but it’s more difficult because of the timeframe and the limited number of avenues to get him ready, the pitching competition.”
Medlen suffered his first setback in early June with some breaking up of scar tissue, which is considered a common occurrence in recovery from this surgery. But after shutting down for a couple of weeks, problems surfaced again when he resumed his throwing program.
Medlen visited Dr. James Andrews on Monday in his satellite office in Pensacola, Fla. Andrews told him the ligament was structurally sound but he needed rest.
Andrews performed “Tommy John” surgery on Medlen last Aug. 18. Recovery typically takes 12 months, but it can require up to 18 months.
“The elbow is sound,” Wren said. “He just had some lingering soreness he couldn’t get out from the breaking up of the adhesions.”