Braves plan to start Medlen in place of Jurrjens

This time, it really looks like Kris Medlen is moving from the Braves bullpen to the starting rotation.

“We’re going to go in a different direction, give Med a chance,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Saturday after announcing plans to start him Tuesday against Miami in place of struggling Jair Jurrjens.

Medlen was sent to Triple-A Gwinnett on May 29 to build arm strength in preparation for a possible switch from relieving to starting duties. Two weeks later the Braves brought him back and decided to keep him in the bullpen, opting instead for Jurrjens in the rotation after a two-month stint in Triple-A.

With that in mind, this time when the Braves told Medlen he would be starting Tuesday, they did so with a caveat: If the team can pull off a trade for a starting pitcher in the next couple of days, Medlen would stay in the bullpen, where he’s filled a valuable role as a bridge between the starters and top relievers.

“The last thing you want to do is give him a false sense of security and jerk him around, say ‘hey you’re going to start,’” Gonzalez said, “then all of a sudden we go out and acquire some people and then you break his heart again. So I think you always have to put a disclaimer on it. There’s very little you can be certain about in this game.”

Medlen has a 2.48 ERA in 38 relief appearances this season, with 36 strikeouts and 13 walks in 54-1/3 innings. In 10 July appearances, he’s posted a 0.55 ERA in 16-1/3 innings with eight hits, one run and four walks allowed while collecting 13 strikeouts to go with a .143 opponents’ average.

The right-hander last started in 2010, when Medlen moved from the bullpen and went 5-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 14 starts before season-ending elbow surgery that also forced him to miss most of 2011.

“[What] I’ve experienced through my career, it’s prepared me for whatever role they ask me to do,” said Medlen, 26. “Constantly going back and forth, I don’t think affects me anymore. It’s just a matter of getting my pitch count up and all that. I think that’s going to be the biggest hurdle for me. Pitch count, especially August in Atlanta, trying to get up to 100 pitches.”

He made a point of not getting carried away with the news that he’d be moving to the starting role he’s long said he preferred.

“I’m really excited, don’t get me wrong,” he said. “But a lot of things can change. I know they’re looking for a veteran dude or whatever. But you know me, I’m more than willing to be the one to try it out, especially ending my chance in the rotation with Tommy John [surgery], I think I made the most of my chance that I got with that. I think I showed them that I could do pretty much anything when it comes to pitching.”

Jurrjens, after returning from a demotion to Triple-A, had encouraging results in his first three starts back in the rotation. But then he was worse than ever in his past two, allowing 17 hits and 14 earned runs in 5-2/3 total innings. Gonzalez said he would move to the bullpen for now, and could be an option to fill the role Medlen has held.

Gonzalez said the Braves made the decision on Medlen last week, after Jurrjens was shelled for six runs and nine hits in 2-1/3 innings of a Sunday loss at Washington and Medlen pitched three hitless relief innings Wednesday at Miami, allowing one walk with five strikeouts. They waited to make the announcement because they thought they might finalize a trade for a starter.

“We were able to get him back on track where he could maybe give us five or six innings in his next start,” Gonzalez said of Medlen, who will likely be on a limit of 60-70 pitches Tuesday. “The timing of the thing was almost perfect.”

38 comments Add your comment

Alex

July 28th, 2012
7:26 pm

Peter

July 28th, 2012
7:38 pm

Good for him. He’s never seemed to be that highly regarded by the Braves even when he started. Guy they should be worried about getting away is Kris Medlen

VP

July 28th, 2012
7:39 pm

About damn time.

Honestly looking at the prices our there for a SP, we would be better off with Medlen in the rotation. It would be better if Wren can find a bullpen arm instead.

I was there at the Ted for Medlen’s last start against the Mets when he blew his elbow, dude is a gamer and buckles down with men on base. Can’t say the same for Jair Jurrjens.

bruce

July 28th, 2012
7:43 pm

best wishes Meds!!! Really appreciate the great attitude/outlook. It will continue to serve you well.

Wrecker

July 28th, 2012
8:02 pm

Great news! Love Medlen and hope he gets his chance. If not for the TJ surgery, he would be in the rotation now.

Kickin possum

July 28th, 2012
8:05 pm

Love Medlen. Great move. Makes the team better – hudson – sheets – Medlen – Hanson – minor – that will work

Ralph

July 28th, 2012
8:17 pm

I would like to see JJ go back to AAA and bring up Buddy Carlyle, doubt it happens though.

jed

July 28th, 2012
8:33 pm

makes a lot of sense. now let’s get a right handed bat and a better replacement for meds in the pen than batista.

Bob the Blogger

July 28th, 2012
8:59 pm

Minor is settling down, Sheets appears to be back to his old self, and now Medlen is getting his chance. All we need is a good bullpen arm to replace Medlen, and we don’t have to give up the farm for that.

bulldogbubba

July 28th, 2012
9:21 pm

I agree with you Ralph.Buddy Carlyle would be agood middle reliever if not a short term starter.Go Braves!!!!

Jasons Shrinking Waist

July 28th, 2012
9:32 pm

Hey wren make that trade for Ollie Perez!

Coach (2012 Fredi's Beisbol Fandango)

July 28th, 2012
9:33 pm

Yes, long over due. Should have put Medlen in the rotation months ago.

William

July 28th, 2012
9:40 pm

Medlen certainly deserves the opportunity. I hope that he gets that start on Tuesday.

Coach

July 28th, 2012
9:41 pm

I agree. It’s about damn time the kid gets his shot, he certainly has deserved it. He may even turn out to be the missing ingredient the rotation needs to push the braves deep into the playoffs. There would have been no telling what the braves would have given to the brew crew for Greinke, glad they didn’t sacrifice the farm to get him. Sheets is a diamond in the ruff, kudos to wren and his crew on that pickup. I have been a braves fan since I was a kid, I love this team, but I could stand to see a little more fire and passion out of this bunch

Chiricahua Brave

July 28th, 2012
10:09 pm

“The last thing you want to do is give him a false sense of security and jerk him around, say ‘hey you’re going to start,’” Gonzalez said

You mean like you did last time Freddi? Idiot

Mark (another one)

July 28th, 2012
10:13 pm

Looking forward to Tuesday. The asking price for a proven SP is too high for only two months. I bet there are a couple of guys in AAA and on the 40 man that can move into Medlen’s old spot but using him as a bridge to the big three has been a luxury no team can afford.

eskippy

July 28th, 2012
10:21 pm

Now get Delgado up here in Hanson’s spot and a right handed bat for left field so Prado can give Uggla a break and the Braves are going to be a force.

bostonbravo

July 28th, 2012
10:28 pm

Great picture of Chris Meddling…Kris Medlin…Chris Middlen..

GREAT PHOTO!!!
I have a similar name…to me, only one possible way to say it…yet every week I hear it said 19 ways & see it written 7 different ways.
Glad it’s him &not Dumpster!!!!!

Who Me?

July 29th, 2012
12:07 am

Still need another SP but this a step in the right direction. JJ needs to mature, it will be interesting to see how he handles work from the bullpen. Still need a power stick too, let’s not forget the offense isn’t tightened up for a run either.

tyger

July 29th, 2012
1:40 am

Just trade Jurrjens already…

The Braves are not going to do right by him…
I’ve never seen a former All-star treated worse…
If you hang your hat on those last couple starts…

Note that the Nats aint the Marlins…
And how badly Uggla booted the ball…

What was the kid’s run support in those outings?…
Wasnt it close until Uggla’s fiasco?…

When are they going to make that “tough” call?

Real Question

July 29th, 2012
2:31 am

Why isnt Sluggla Uggla hitting third or cleanup? Why wasnt Dan the man in the HR Derby?

…oh that’s right, he’s barely hitting .100 the last two months… But at least he’s averaging a homer a month… Can’t wait til August Uggie!!! Long Ball!!

IdahoBravesFan

July 29th, 2012
4:08 am

I am just hoping that somehow Struggla can break out of the streak at the right time. This guy’s batting average is not far from double digits for July. He is at .104 and there are a few days left to go. We have pitchers that could DH for him and do a better job if we had a DH in our league. At some point you have to figure that the odds will catch up with him breaking out of the streak. No professional hitter can bat that poorly for that long. I think that Fredi just needs to sit him for a week or so and let him chill. Never should have gone to the all star game. That is beyond me. He needed to just back away those few days.

Coach Frustrated

July 29th, 2012
7:33 am

According to what I have heard, hitting coach Walker said they reviewed the tapes and Uggla is not getting his front foot down in time. Here is a thought, don’t lift it!!!! Spread out and work on contact for a while!!!

Atticus

July 29th, 2012
7:50 am

Great! Now go get a great reliever and a better bat off the bench and let’s make a run!

Braves Fan Since 1966

July 29th, 2012
8:54 am

Great move! Now go get a quality bull pen replacement for Medlin and get a right handed hitter and we are good to go for the palyoff push.

urban redneck

July 29th, 2012
9:11 am

holy sheets. i think our rotation is fixed. now get us a late reliever and a hellacious bat off the bench. once we get simmons back, we are back in this. i have faith that danny will have remembered how to make contact again. last but not least………………resign that center fielder. he’s a game changer. he allows us to do something other than wait for the long ball, and he gives opposing pitchers absolute hell when he gets on. it completely changes how he has to pitch to everyone else.

two questions: 1. when is gilmartin getting his first start at coolray? 2. if you only can afford to sign one player to a long-term contract (which is probably pretty accurate), do you sign bourn or bmac? go bravos. get out the brooms.

Turtsnap

July 29th, 2012
9:16 am

I never quite understood why he lost his spot in the first place. He was doing a great job in 2010 before he blew his arm out

clark kent

July 29th, 2012
9:16 am

Not much Wren can do with Liberty tying his hands. Looking at the available starters out there and what it would have cost to get one, this is by far the best solution. It will be much easier to find a middle reliever.

Good luck Kris.

Casey

July 29th, 2012
9:44 am

Jurrjens probably still has enough worth to get a prospect or two. Just cut your losses and trade him. It would be the best for both parties! He needs a fresh start somewhere else.

say what?

July 29th, 2012
10:51 am

I don’t see teams frdding for jj at this point. maybe he’ll regain some pitching confidence in the pen

Blindog

July 29th, 2012
11:23 am

I think it is no longer a slump with Uggla I think it is what it is,he will NOT change his swing,with him it’s all or nothing and there has been a whole lot of nothing, please give him a few days off, maybe that will help

steve

July 29th, 2012
11:23 am

Medlen deserves this chance as he earned it, J.J. was given every opportunity and has not performed well, still believe he is not driving off his legs and just using upper body to pitch which is why his velocity is down and his pitches are not sinking, do not want Dempster as he is not a no. 1 and will not consider us after this season, get a good right handed hitter that can play left field before the deadline, Minor and Delgado will both be very good pitchers and are learning every start on how to pitch in the big leagues so trading them would be foolish.

BravesWin

July 29th, 2012
11:53 am

What’s up with Moylan? He was supposed to be up by late June. JJ may do well as long relief, we’ll see. Anyway, go get ‘em, Kris!

Fats

July 29th, 2012
1:28 pm

Jurrgens may need to stay the rest of the year in the minors to prove his worth. Can’t blame FG for getting him out of here fo now

D T

July 31st, 2012
3:33 am

When JHey struggle last year, he had to share his position but Uggla struggling alone with Hanson. And Minor had some bad outing but Gonz believing them. On the other hand, JJ in a slump and management treating him like dirt.

D T

July 31st, 2012
3:35 am

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new era snapbacks

August 5th, 2012
10:11 pm

Los Angeles also bolstered its bullpen by acquiring Brandon League from Seattle for two prospects.

“It’s been a whirlwind for the Dodger organization,” team partner Magic Johnson said. “We’re in it to win it. We don’t want to wait till next year. We want to win right now.”

“Hanley Ramirez has really improved our lineup, and now Shane – man, you need somebody with that type of speed. He’s gutty, he’s gritty, he’s tough-minded, and I think he’s going to help the locker room as well as on the field. And he’s a guy who’s done it. So we’re excited about having him.”

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