Kris Medlen will make his first start Tuesday for the Braves in almost two years. He hasn’t started since Aug. 4, 2010 against the Mets, when he walked off the mound in the middle of the fifth inning with an ailing right elbow.
After a year away recovering from ligament transplant surgery and the first four months of this season pitching in the bullpen, Medlen returns to a role in which he’s proven he can excel. He went 5-0 with a 3.86 in 14 starts in 2010. The Braves won 13 of those starts.
“I’m excited,” Medlen said Monday afternoon. “I finally get my opportunity again. I think I made the most of it the first time around.”
Medlen got his chance in 2010 when Jair Jurrjens went on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. This time he’s replacing Jurrjens because of his struggles on the mound. The Braves lost Jurrjens’ past two starts by a combined score of 18-2, while Jurrjens gave up 14 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings,
This change is likely for one night, after the Braves acquired left-hander Paul Maholm in a deal from the Chicago Cubs late Monday night.
“He’ll start tomorrow and we’ll re-evaluate and see where we go,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said after Monday’s trade. “The thing about Medlen, he really has been a valuable guy and as we’ve contemplated the start the last four days, we’ve been in situations where he would have been very valuable in the games (out of the bullpen). So it was pretty obvious that we missed him.”
Medlen was sent to Triple-A at the end of May to stretch out when the Braves considered making a move like this earlier. They decided against it and brought him back to the bullpen two weeks later. This time Medlen will be stretching out on the job. He threw 46 pitches in his three-inning relief appearance on Wednesday in Miami. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would play it by ear with Medlen’s pitch count but thought 75 pitches would be pushing it.
“I’m not worried about the number of pitches,” Medlen said. “I just want to go out there and be consistent and be efficient.”
David O’Brien contributed information to this report.