Posted: 3:24 pm Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Braves’ Medlen leaves game with arm injury 

By David O'Brien

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1496419233001?bctid=3319005325001

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Braves pitcher Kris Medlen left Sunday’s spring-training game against the Mets with what was initially diagnosed as a strained forearm, pending further evaluation. Now the Braves will wait and hope the injury isn’t something far worse.

Medlen will be examined Monday by Dr. Marvin Royster, the Braves orthopaedist, near the team’s spring training headquarters outside Orlando. Medlen had Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow in August 2010.

“We have to wait and see,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Obviously when he came out of the game, anytime a pitcher walks off the mound and meets you at the foul line you’re worried. But I think after everything kind of settled down, we’re optimistic that it’s nothing really major.”

Medlen, who was likely the Braves’ planned opening day starter, left with two outs in the fourth inning after his second pitch to Matt Clark. Television replays showed the right-hander grab his right elbow after throwing the previous pitch, then hop off the mound and jog toward the dugout while shaking his right arm at his side immediately after throwing his final pitch.

“I just saw the look of discomfort on his face,” Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons said. “I hope it’s not bad. I mean, it’s never good when your pitcher runs off the mound (after an injury). But hopefully it’s not a big deal.”

After bringing in reliever Atahualpo Severino to finish facing Clark, Gonzalez went up the dugout hallway to the clubhouse to see  Medlen.

“He wasn’t in good spirits then,” Gonzalez said. “He was really, really worried. But after he got settled down and the trainers looked at him and Mets doctors looked at him, I think he was in better spirits. I did not talk to him after those conversations he had with the doctors and trainers, but our people told me that he was in little better spirits.

“Keep our fingers crossed. But I feel a lot better after talking to our medical people. We might be OK.”

Before the injury, Medlen had allowed three hits and one run — all in the second inning — and retired his last seven batters faced. He showed no sign of discomfort before his final two pitches.

“He was executing pitches,” catcher Evan Gattis said. “The next thing you know, I didn’t know what he had grabbed or anything, but for whatever reason I kind of knew it was his arm, or thought so. It’s never a good sign, never a good feeling, to be out there and see a pitcher walking off the mound like that.”

Medlen, 28, missed most of the 2011 season after having Tommy John surgery in August 2010, before he became a frontline starter.

Losing him again now for any significant period could be a major blow to the Braves, possibly forcing them to consider a move to acquire another proven top-of-the-rotation starter. If it’s just a strain, Medlen wouldn’t require surgery and might not miss much time.

Medlen is 24-12 with a 2.47 ERA in 44 games (43 starts) since moving into the rotation at the end of July 2012. His 2.40 ERA since the 2012 All-Star break is the second-best in baseball among pitchers with at least 250 innings, behind Dodgers ace Clayton  Kershaw. Medlen has won three of the past eight NL Pitcher of the Month awards, while no other pitcher in either league has won more than one such award during that period.

He’s the oldest of four starting-rotation incumbents, including Brandon Beachy (27), Mike Minor (26) and Julio Teheran, who turned 23 in January. Beachy missed much of the 2013 season recovering from Tommy John surgery and had a second procedure – an arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone chip – in September 2013.

Minor had shoulder soreness at the beginning of camp and isn’t expected to make his Grapefruit League debut for at least another week. He’s not expected to be ready until at least the second week of the regular season.

The Braves lost veteran leader Tim Hudson to free agency and  signed free agent Gavin Floyd, 30, who’s in the final stages of his own recovery from May 2013 Tommy John surgery. Floyd has looked good in bullpen and batting-practice sessions this spring, and could join the Braves’ rotation as soon as May. He has a 70-70 career record and 4.48 ERA, including 17-8 with a 3.84 ERA for the White Sox in his career-best season in 2008.

Until Floyd returns, the only opening in the rotation was being contested by left-hander Alex Wood, who impressed in starting and relief roles as a rookie, and Freddy Garcia, 37, who was 1-1 with a 1.83 ERA in three September starts and pitched well in Game 4 of the division series.

If Medlen isn’t ready to start the season, the Braves could have both Wood and Garcia in the rotation. If his injury were more serious than a strain, they could consider expanding their budget to pursue a trade or jump into the bidding for still-unsigned free agent Ervin Santana, who had a 3.24 ERA in 32 starts for Kansas City in 2013.

The Braves also have rookie David Hale, who opened a lot of eyes with two outstanding starts in September.

Gonzalez was asked after Sunday’s game if he thought the Braves  had enough pitching to fill the void if Medlen had to miss any time.

“If you would have asked me that question when there were five starters healthy, I would always answer with no,” Gonzalez  said, “because stuff like this happens all the time. The answer is you can never have enough. But we’ll wait until (the injury) gets diagnosed a little bit more.”

45 comments
MichBravesFan
MichBravesFan

That decision to let Hudson walk is really looking like a bad move right now. 

BravesFan1966
BravesFan1966

And, what CowBellHell sad.  Maybe Santana still being out there will be a blessing for the Braves.  Except he wants 4 years or so at $50 million.  Don't know if the Ownership will allow that.

BravesFan1966
BravesFan1966

I just do not understand the Braves pitching.  Nearly every pitcher they have or get winds up with Tommy John.  Just look at their past record of TJ injuries.  What are they doing to these kids in the minors.  Something is wrong and needs fixing besides everyone undergoing  TJ surgery.

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

Liek I said B 4 I thing he is fakin it just 2 get out of sprig trrainig. He alwyas ben a shelfish palyer. 

Redfin
Redfin

I'm reminded of the Camp Leo from years ago.   It seemed in those days that the Braves had far less pitching injuries than now.  Wondering if my observation mean anything "or" are the Braves just in a streak of pizz-poor luck?

warfalcon
warfalcon

So the injury bug did not stop at the Falcons and the Hawks it is going into the baseball season too. OH WELL another Atlanta team biting the dust.

J_Bird
J_Bird

Wow. This is sort of embarrassing as a Braves fan. So many people are putting everything into Spring Training.........TRAINING!!!!!. Most of the guys playing are non-roster invitees and will not make the team and players in the minors. Our projected pitching staff looks amazing to me and when a injury like this happens, somehow the Braves find someone to pickup where he left off. There are a lot of questions for this team but it's not time to give up because of spring training.   

gordonguy
gordonguy

Remember, it was these same people who were saying the same things last year at this time.  

Let me tell you something, all of these negative people on here will never, repeat NEVER, be positive no matter what happens.  The Braves could win 110 games this year, sweep the Division Series and the NLCS, then play the most exciting World Series in history, winning in the 7th game, and TreeRollins. scp1, reallygroovy and their ilk would complain because they didn't win the World Series in 4 games.  It truly is sad to think that people can be so negative, especially since the season hasn't even begun.  I would hate to be a child of one of these people, coming up to bat in a Little League ball game.  

And you know what, even if they're right, what does it matter in the grand scheme of things? 

MikeY1959
MikeY1959

Even before this Medlen injury I thought that by the all-star break we would have starts from 8 pitchers (Minor, Medlen, Teheran, Beachy, Wood, Garcia, Hale, Floyd). If Liberty will cough up the money for a year of Ervin Santana, I like it. As they say, you can never have too much pitching.

I do feel sorry for Medlen, he is one of the good guys. I was watching the Mets broadcast of the game on mlb.tv and prior to his injury their broadcasters were lauding him for his pitching ability, his charitable activities, and his demeanor. Good Luck to Medlen.

scp1
scp1

Was in Orlando last week and saw a Braves game.  Season does not look too hopeful.  No energy, no hussle, nothing encouraging as far as batting.  Lackluster, sloppy play. Hope things change in a hurry before opening day or it is going to be a sad summer for braves fans

reckingball
reckingball

Gloom, despair, and agony of me......Deep dark depression, excessive misery......If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.......Gloom, despair, and agony on me.

BFChris30
BFChris30

Get Ervin Santana, he is looking for 1 year deal.

1995oneyearwonder
1995oneyearwonder

it looks life Freddy Garcia has a job after all. he doesn't have to retire.


Hale and  Schlosser are options.


is Randall Delgado available ?


I thought Cody Martin had a chance, but he's been awful so far. Graham can't throw more than 10 pitches so he can't start either.


1995oneyearwonder
1995oneyearwonder

Braves must lead the majors in injured pitchers. this is becoming an epidemic. 

you can't make deals when you are in trouble-other teams rip you off.  

at the start of a season, sometimes you an get by with mostly 4 starters.maybe theycan get through April and hope Floyd is ready in early May

I would look at internal options first before a trade. 

HUDDYS1FAN
HUDDYS1FAN

Rule number #1, you can never, ever have enough pitching. 


Medlen is probably out for a while or even the entire season, opening the door for somebody else to shine. Such is the fate of baseball players and athletes always.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

He's done for the season - get serious people! I have a Braves logo in my urinal - it's where I pee...

See ya Chris.

keendaddy
keendaddy

Good luck to Kris Medlen. Hopefully, we'll get some positive news tomorrow. I wouldn't panic yet about last place. Atlanta will be fine as soon as the starters are all present. I love the way some of you guys give up before the first game, lol. Try to have a little faith...

Hesalive
Hesalive

Not comfortable at all with the way this spring is progressing. Last place does not bode well for this team. They need to come out of the gate firing all their guns. 

POV1948
POV1948

I'm trying to think of a time when a pitcher took himself out mid-inning and the arm injury turned out NOT to be significant.  Unfortunately nothing comes to mind.  Hoping Medlen will be the exception.

jeffreyd
jeffreyd

I know keeping it together isn't our strong point here, but can we at least wait until we hear what the doctor says before everybody starts flipping out?

Hammerman
Hammerman

Feel bad for Medlen on a personal level,chances for this overachiever getting a nice payday probably ended today.I think the rotation will be fine it usually is,one way or the other.The issues from last year still persist with a 6 man batting order,and that is giving Simmons the benefit of the doubt.No table setter and 3 automatic outs when you factor in the pitcher.No proven #1 power pitcher and a very flawed line up.Its October all over again.

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

NO ERVIN SANTANA  PERIOD , TOMMY HANSON GET HIM BACK , I MEAN YOU LET TIM HUDSON GET AWAY ,AND I SAID IT FOR 2 MONTHS EVERY DAY FET UBALDO JIMINEZ and he went to Baltimore , so now this team is in serious trouble and the season is 2 weeks away , and B.J. UPTON, AND DAN UGGLA, WELL  I can;t wait till august for football , but the falcons as I see are no rumors for any free agent so I guess we will continue to drink hard liquor , to just hope all this is a big nightmare and it will go away soon.

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

well  look I thought the state of Georgia was jinxed for along time but today I heard and saw MERCER , OF MACON, GEORGIA , WIN AGINST FGCC  AND GOING TO THE BIG DANCE , but the braves, will finish in last place this year , who oin the crap is the strength and conditioning coach for these guys my god , medlen , beachy, venters , oflarety , minor, , so JULIO TEHRAN should  be opening day starter , and then wood, then beachy, then ????????????????????????????????????????????????, I said this last month this braves team in 2014 last place .

Savdon
Savdon

Dayum! Good luck Kris!

58Supersports
58Supersports

A lot of "if's" on this staff...Braves need a proven top start if they really expect to  win.  Maybe a trade with Cubs? or get in on Santana.

Go Braves!

We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again
We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again

I hope for the best, but everything I'm hearing sounds ominous. So it goes, I guess. We've overcome injuries the last two years; looks like we may have to do it again.

Do we enter the Ervin Santana sweepstakes now? I don't think you can feel great about breaking camp with some combination of Wood, Garcia, and Hale holding down the last two spots in the rotation.

theoriginaltruth
theoriginaltruth

David Hale and Alex Wood...........and the Braves get younger....

BradleyBreeze
BradleyBreeze

I agree it doesn't look good............Beachy did the same thing holding his forearm...........I hope for the best but this doesn't look good for Medlen!

TNScott
TNScott

Not good. Every time in the last few seasons I've heard "forearm strain" with our pitchers after walking off the mound with an elbow issue, it's been followed with the words "Tommy John Surgery" after the prognosis. I hope this is different. 

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@J_Bird who the hell's giving up dude?  I mean losing your #1 starter in spring IS a big concern but this team is stacked.  Go get Santana if you have to b/c this could be a special year for the Bravos in my opinion.

J_Bird
J_Bird

@scp1  I agree with you that the season does not look hopeful, however, I disagree with everything else. You have to remember that most of the guys out there are not going to make the team. In fact, most of the runs given up are from non-roster invitees. 


We are hoping that Uggla turns around (not going to happen), BJ gets back to form (who knows) C. Johnson repeats again (doubtful), Gattis repeats (who knows) and all of these young pitchers and ones coming back from injuries can pitch like they did last year or like they did before they got hurt. Now Meds is down....I don't think by any means the season if over because of just him but with all the question marks and him being gone, I don't like our chances. 


I hope I'm wrong, I really do.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

I gave up when I saw they can't even win a preseason game - sheesh!

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

It's the exact same preseason the Falcons had this year! But let's not worry about it.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

He's done for the season - u know it and so do I!

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

I'm not worried in the slightest, this team looked like a dumpster fire to me before the preseason started!

jeffreyd
jeffreyd

@reallygroovy  Hanson wasn't good enough for the 78-84 Angels, why would the Braves want him?


Also, I think you win the awards for longest sentence ever biggest overreactor. 

MikeinGeorgia
MikeinGeorgia

@reallygroovy  maybe keep a positive attitude and things will seem brighter and end up the same way....such negativity....why?...so unhealthy and unneccesary....geeezzz!


J_Bird
J_Bird

@TreeRollins  Spoken like a true Braves 'fan'. 


Do us all a favor and don't come back if they are doing good. 

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@TreeRollins go away little troll... you obviously know nothing about baseball if you think spring training record has any bearing on the regular season.