Kris Medlen spent a little more than two weeks in Gwinnett stretching out to be a starter and he’s back now as a reliever. But he said the two weeks were not wasted.
“I really can’t complain about down there,” Medlen said Friday after rejoining the Braves. “It was humbling and whatever else you want to call it, but it was awesome. I kind of got to unwind a little bit, re-prioritize things and work on some stuff and just tried to make the most out of it.”
Medlen said he felt the pressure of having to perform early on in his stint to get back to Atlanta as a starter and struggled with his command rushing pitches. So he worked with pitching coach Marty Reed on staying over the rubber longer.
He saw better results and came back ready to take on whatever role the Braves needed.
“It’s a little disheartening I guess because I went down there to be a starter,” Medlen said. “But things happen and they make plans and they don’t always work out. My entire career has been based on doing what I can for the team to help us win. Winning makes everything a lot better. I’ll do anything. I’m back in the bullpen and I’m going to make the most out of that.”
With Jonny Venters’ recent struggles and Eric O’Flaherty being down this week with a sore elbow, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez could use some help in the seventh and eighth innings. So Medlen won’t just be used in long relief or multiple-inning outings.
“We may use him a little different,” Gonzalez said. “We had a great luxury last year that doesn’t happen very often. We had O’Flaherty (in the) seventh, Venters (in) the eighth and bam. We’re not there right now. I think we will be, but until we get to that point then we can use Med. Maybe Jonny come in and get an out in the sixth, or two outs in the sixth, and have Med go seven, eight until O’Flaherty gets back, then close with (Craig) Kimbrel.”
Gonzalez said he can also use Chad Durbin in that mix.