LAKELAND, Fla. — Kris Medlen will start a minor league game Friday, and manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Braves haven’t ruled out Medlen as an option for the fill-in role while Tim Hudson is out in April recovering from back surgery.
Medlen pitched four scoreless innings of one-hit ball Saturday against the Mets and has allowed just one run in 10 innings of three games (two starts) with seven strikeouts and one walk.
However, general manager Frank Wren reiterated that the Braves still plan to have Medlen in the bullpen this season and would choose between prospects Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran to be the fill-in starter in April.
“That’s always been our plan because he sets up our bullpen very well,” Wren said of Medlen, who has pitched as both a starter and reliever in the past. “He makes our bullpen much better because of his versatility and because of his abilty to get both righties and lefties out better than most guys.”
Wren knows that some fans and others have pointed out Medlen’s value and said he belongs in the rotation.
“We think he’s a very valuable guy as well,” Wren said. “We’re not overlooking the fact that he’s a valuable guy. But with the way our club is structured, we think he’s more valuable to us in the bullpen because he can impact more games than as a starter. And we have a real good starting rotation. Especially once Huddy comes back, our starting rotation is deep.”
Hanson vs. Lannan
Tommy Hanson makes his second start (third if you count a one-inning rainout) on Wednesday when the Braves travel to Viera, Fla., to face Washington and left-handed John Lannan, who’s pitched well against Atlanta in the past.