Washington – Perhaps a little known fact, given all the publicity surrounding Tuesday’s Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg and the possibility of him being shut down at 160-180 innings, is that the Braves have been keeping similar tabs on Kris Medlen.
The most innings Medlen has thrown in a season is 120 1/3 in Double-A Mississippi in 2008. Coming off “Tommy John” elbow reconstruction surgery, the Braves didn’t want him to throw any more than 150-160 innings this season. That’s part of the reason why he opened the season pitching out of the bullpen.
Medlen is at 80 innings for the season, including 25 2/3 innings now as a starter, so it won’t be a problem. But that’s by design.
“We knew coming out of spring training he probably had 150-160 innings, based on our organizational belief in percentage of increase in innings per year,” said Braves general manager Frank Wren, indicating it’s about 20 percent. “So we preferred to start him off in the bullpen where he could be a bridge for our starters for the first two months and then after that we would evaluate our needs, and it would allow us to have him until the end once we put him in the rotation.”
Wren doesn’t envy Nationals GM Mike Rizzo’s call of having to sit his ace in the heat of a pennant race to protect his arm for the future.
“It’s a very difficult position to be in,” Wren said. “You can see every side of the argument.”