WASHINGTON — Thirteen months after ligament-transplant elbow surgery, Braves pitcher Kris Medlen worked a perfect eighth inning in Sunday’s 3-0 oss to the Nationals in his first game back.
Medlen, who was was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Saturday, fielded a comebacker to the mound behind his back, then recorded a strikeout and flyout to shallow center field for a seven-pitch, six-strike inning.
“Felt good — I floated to the mound from the bullpen,” he said, smiling. “Obviously it’s bittersweet. I’d much rather go in and get a scoreless inning up 10-0 than down three runs. But from a personal level I can’t be happier, from the amount of work I put in and all that.”
Two months ago, the Braves announced he’d be shut dow for the rest of the season following a breakup of surgery-related scar tissued in his elbow during the rehab process. But they changed course two weeks ago because of a bullpen need and because Medlen felt good.
“He gave us a good inning,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “It was nice to see him, with all his hard work and that setback he had earlier in the summer, come back out and pitch in a major league game this year.”
The Braves lost sidearmer Peter Moylan to a torn rotator cuff and have gone without lefty George Sherrill (inflamed elbow) for four weeks. Sherrill rejoined the team in Washington on Sunday after making two Instructional League appearances, but was not activated for the series finale Sunday….
Shortstop Alex Gonzalez missed his fourth consecutive start since straining his right calf. He had planned to miss only one or two starts, but still felt some soreness when he did any explosive movements. The Braves hope to have him back in the lineup Monday.