Posted: 2:18 pm Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Braves reactions to Santana signing, Medlen injury 

By David O'Brien


On how he spent past few days: “I guess mentally preparing myself. Something that I’ve felt before. I think I had all the answers to anybody’s questions in my head when I was walking off the mound. I never do that. When I did it before in 2010, the same thing kind of happened. Nothing’s … (long pause, choked up) Nothing’s official, but I think I know and just go from there.”

“There’s been a bunch of really nice comments from people on Twitter. It’s been awesome. I think this second time around, being a dad and having a wife there, it’s going to help me out a little bit more than the first time. And getting involved in Rally (Foundation for childhood cancer research) puts things in perspective; this isn’t that big of a deal compared to what other people are going through. So it’s something I need to take care of and move on from.”

On staying in game for two more pitches after injury: “It was hope, frustration, anger. I don’t think I did anything more to the ligament on those two extra pitches I threw after I felt it. It probably wasn’t smart, but having already done it before…. I think it was the curveball to Granderson. I felt that knife in the elbow feeling. And it was more just kind of denial, and I walked all the way to second base just kind of thinking, like, you know, ‘You have to be freakin’ kidding me.’

“I threw a first-pitch fastball and I guess it was more an 8-9-10 on the pain scale feeling. In 2010 when I did it, it was an 8. So I already felt like the damage had been done and I was just kind of denying it to myself. I just wanted to get through it, to talk myself out of that feeling. So it was more of a denial/frustration/anger thing. I was already losing it on the way to the dugout. I couldn’t breathe. Just all that stuff … going through it one time, I told myself if I ever had to do it again I would quit. Stupid comments like that. I’m not going to quit, obviously. But the first time I did it in 2010, I was telling myself there was no way I could will myself to do all this crap again.

“It ended up working the first time, for a limited time obviously. I think there’s more of a shelf life expected for new ligaments nowadays. I’ve already talked to our video guy and I’m going to get with Roger (McDowell) and whoever else, and I’m going to try and focus on not just trying to take care of it again, but trying to prevent it from happening again, whether I’m doing something mechanically or there’s a weakness somewhere and my elbow is compensating for it. It’s just something that I need to do physically and mentally. I just need to take care of it.

“I know all the surgeons are down in New Orleans for some academy or whatever they call it. But within the week I’m hoping to get just a few more answers. Like I said, I think I know, and I think I know what I felt. It’s difficult, but it’s not going to hurt to go get multiple questions answered by multiple different sources. The second time around is just going to be a lot different when it comes to handling that and just asking more questions and being a little bit more involved instead of just being the scared kid who doesn’t know what to do.”

“I’ve seen our team doctors. Dr. (Marvin) Royster was there for the stress test, where they take an X-ray of it normal, then they stress it – which hurts, by the way – and then they take an X-ray to measure how far your bone opens up, and mine was opening up quite a bit, I think to about 6 millimeters, and 2 is kind of pushing it. So I think that shows obviously a weakness in the ligament. But Dr. Andrews has done this a few times now, and I think he’s going to be able to kind of pinpoint the exact terminology and exactly what’s going on.”

“My teammates have been extremely supportive. There were no signs of it (coming), which makes it a lot more difficult. I’ve watched the replays, because I have nothing else to do. Simmons kind of stood up (after the pitch), like ‘Oh, shit.’ Like I’ve said, they’ve been extremely supportive. And that’s what guys need. I’ve tried to be there for Beachy and Jonny and whoever else has gone through this, and that’s what people are doing for me right now, and it’s pretty awesome to be around. It definitely makes you feel better. But the reality has set in the past couple of days, and it’s more like, all right, let’s go, let’s get this taken care of. It’s not like a woe is me, or why me? I don’t even think like that. I wouldn’t be at this level if I ever thought that way.

“I feel like I carry the flag for the underdogs and the people who believe in themselves when no one else does. I’ve had a good support system coming up, and those are the people that I play for. I just want to do it for them.”

**FRANK WREN (seated next to Medlen when pitcher met with reporters)

“From his perspective, he probably knew when he walked off the mound, based on how he felt. That he felt the worst. And over the last couple of days he’s had additional tests. Yesterday he had a stress X-ray, and that stress X-ray, it’s not definitive, but it did probably confirm what he was fearing. That there’s a high likelihood that he’s going to have to have a second Tommy John. And so that put him in a position where he wanted to come to you guys and be open and honest with where we are. It’s nothing official. It’s not definite yet. But I think over the next few days when he sees the doctor, that’s what we’re anticipating.”

**FRANK WREN at informal news conference to announce Santana signing

“I think in light of what’s happened over the past few days with our pitching staff, we thought it was incumbent on us to do everything we could to strengthen our starting pitching. Throughout the winter, we didn’t feel like we were going to be in this (starting pitcher) market, but we felt like Ervin was the No. 1 guy in the market. We always felt that he was the guy that, if we were going to go out there (and sign a frontline pitcher), he was the guy that we would love to have.

“And it just worked out that he had not reached an agreement yet, and so once we had the injuries, we reached out to his agent a couple of days ago and then started talking yesterday, and were able to reach agreement last night. We’re thrilled to have him, and we feel like he really gives us a big shot in the arm as far as the rotation’s concerned.”

“Literally the afternoon that Kris Medlen got hurt, I reached out to Jay Alou by text. And then we started talking (Tuesday) and trying to see if there was a match. When I reached out originally it was because I knew from media reports that he was down the road with some other clubs who had a big head start on us (in negotiations). So we tried to see if there was still a chance for us to get in the mix.”

“I think once we started talking, we realized that Ervin was very interested in us as well, that he thought this was a good opportunity for him, and it was a perfect for us for. We’re fortunate that it all fit at the right time. Another day later, we might not have been able to make it happen.”\

“We don’t have any finality on Brandon, or Kris. We don’t know what’s going to happen with either guy, and we’re still hoping for the best. But just knowing where we were depth-wise, we felt it was really important.

“This is an incredible, I think, decision by the organization, because this is going to push us well above what we thought our budget would be this year. But Mr. McGuirk and John jumped in to say this is important for our team, and made a big commitment. And that shouldn’t go un noted.”

Did you guys feel that there much work putting it together to let couple of injuries ruin team’s chances?

“I think that’s exactly it. We feel like we have a real good team, and we feel like it’s really important for us as an organization to do everything we can possibly do to continue having a competitive ballclub. I think this move keeps us in that position.”

Santana ready first week? “I don’t think so. We’re not going to push it that fast. We want to take it slow – not extraordinarily slow, but we want to take the right amount of caution to get him ready the right way. We want him for the long haul. So I think we’ll react based on how his bullpens go – he’s going to do a bullpen and a live BP, at least. If that all goes well, then we would put him in just like the first (start) of spring training, in a two-inning game setting. That could happen as soon as a week, but if it needs to be a little longer to make sure he’s healthy and fine, then we’ll do that as well. But we’re going to play that one by ear based on how he feels and how everything goes.”

Tough losing the draft pick, and did getting one for McCann help?

“No doubt. For a development organization like us, draft picks are really valuable. So that was a big part of this. But I think we have to keep it focused on the big picture, and the big picture is to win at the major league level. That’s what we’re commited to. I picked up the phone this morning after we got the deal done to call (scouting director) Tony DeMacio and let him know it cost a draft pick, and like all of our guys in the organization he said, ‘You know what? We’ve got to do what’s best for our team.’ That’s the way we look at it. Would we love to have that pick? Absolutely. But we’ve got to do what’s best for our team, and to get a pitcher of the quality of Ervin Santana, you do that.”

Team still have any payroll flexibility to add piece if needed during season?

“When we’re in the hunt, we’ve always found a way.”



“I’m very excited to be in this organization. Young talent. It’s going to be a fun season for us.”

On coming to new league: “That was one of the things. To every pitcher, being in a different league…. And I like to hit.”

“I don’t know the National League, but I will adjust and do my job like I always do and go out every five days and do my work. It’s going to be fun.”

“Been working out every single day, throwing bullpens, and I’m basically almost ready to go. I just need to throw against hitters and in games.”

On having good year in Kansas City last season after bad year with Angels in 2012: “Good transition for me, because I was new in Kansas City. I just put everything together and pitched great. In 2012 I don’t know, I wasn’t feeling that comfortable with the Angels. I just had fun in Kansas City.”


**JORDAN WALDEN on signing his former Angels teammate Santana

“He’s a great pitcher. He’s got good stuff. I was very happy to see that.”

“Awesome guy. I knew he was going to fit in right away over here. He’s going to go out, pitch a lot of innings. He’s a good pitcher.”

“He’s just a nice guy. He’s going to make friends with everybody. No problems with him. He’s great, he’s going to love it here.”

“He just needed a new start. He got out of Anaheim last year and he liked it where he was (in Kansas City), and he’s going to love it here. I think he’ll be like he was last year, if not better.”

Good fastball, slider, and “great changeup. I played catch with him today and it was coming out good.”

**GERALD LAIRD faced Santana in AL

“Nice pickup. It’s unfortunate the guys we lost to have to do something like this, but it just goes to show you that they know we have a good offense and a good team, and you just don’t want to let a year go by when you have a chance to win.

“I thought he was one of the better guys on the market (this winter) to begin with, and to get him on a one-year deal is huge. It just shows you how much confidence Frank has in this team to win games. Unfortunately two guys go down. But to sign a guy like that…our rotation could settle in a be pretty good.”

“We have some guys who have to step up early, but I like our chances. We’ve got a good ballclub, and to get a guy like this to solidify that top of the rotation – he’s got a track record of being good. I’m excited. We have a first-class organization. They go out there and get a guy like that, and you’re smiling.”

**Braves CEO TERRY McGUIRK on going over budget by about $10 million to sign Santana

“We’re not in a rebuilding mode. We’re in a winning mode. And we’re standing in this clubhouse right now with a bunch of winners around us. We think that the time is now. We’ve always been willing to add to the payroll and add to the sustance of this club. We have been in a rebuilding mode going with you, going back four or five years. But that youth has all arrived. If you were in our spot, you would do the same thing. It’s the right time.

“Money is not the issue so much as, is it the right time to do it? We want to send a message to the guys in this clubhouse and our fans and our sponsors, to our organization, that we expect to win, we want to win. That was why.”

**JONNY VENTERS on Medlen likely headed for second TJ surgery, as Venters had a year ago

“Man, I just told him everyone’s here for you. Just stay positive, make the best decision for you and your family.”

“I think he’ll be fine. Obviously you don’t want to see something like that. But I just told him he’ll be OK, make a decision and go at it as hard as you can.”

**DAN UGGLA on Medlen injury and Santana signing

“It’s awful. To have that happen once sucks bad enough, then to have it happen as soon as it did … it just sucks. There’s no other way to say it. But with that loss, it’s a spot that needed to be filled. In here as a clubhouse, you’ve got your guys and you’re counting on leaning on these guys. Med is our ace; that’s our horse. When he goes down, that’s a big, big loss, man. The morale of the team is like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what’s going to happen now?’ To see the front office step up like they did and get Santana is a huge pick-me-up. We all love Medlen so much, and believe me, with the signing of Santana we haven’t forgotten anything that’s going on with Medlen. We’re all hurting for him. But that’s a spot where Santana is going to do a great job for us.”

**Mets third baseman DAVID WRIGHT on Santana signing

“They’re a very successful, winning franchise. And it seems like they make smart decisions. Today is no different. Unfortunately I saw Medlen go down. And to act right away and be able to get a talent like that makes them similarly strong. It’s a nice move. Like I said, they’re a very, very good organization. Moves like this just back that up. It’s a good acquisition.”



Med was great. Not elite. We still dont have an elite pitcher.


@jimmy clemmons:  It doesn't have much of anything to do with Mazzone compared to McDowell.  Of the Braves' aces under Mazzone, you can see he had plenty of injury issues under him as well.  Not his fault, just the mechanics the pitchers had.  Hard to completely revamp someone's delivery.  Avery had poor mechanics, leading to shoulder injuries and flaming out at an early age.  Smoltz had bad mechanics leading to numerous injuries.  He was extremely tough and resourceful, though and a freak of nature.  Maddux is an example of near perfect mechanics.  In fact, the site I mentioned earlier uses his mechanics along with Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.  Tom Glavine also had great mechanics.  It is not McDowell's fault.  It's the pitchers they are drafting and developing.  Look at their top prospects now:  Lucas Sims is iffy, Jason Hursh has already had TJ and likely to have more arm issues.  Mauricio Cabrera is a trainwreck, J.R. Graham has already had shoulder issues, and will eventually need surgery for elbow or shoulder, take your pick.  David Hale is another trainwreck; hope we don't have to rely on him for many innings in the majors this year.  Cody Martin will have arm issues if he hasn't already too.  That's just from the top ten prospects on  So, like the Cardinals and Nationals, the Braves seem to stockpile a lot of pitchers with problematic mechanics, which make situations like this year inevitable.  

And just know, it will happen to other teams eventually too.  The Giants have two big starters that are ticking time bombs in Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum.  I already mentioned the top three for the Nats all are ticking time bombs, and the Cardinal have four at least that are inevitablities too, in Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia and Shelby Miller.  


I have always found it weird that people want to vent to strangers that could not care less about them... but if that is what you feel compelled to do, at least get your facts straight.\

You said it smart guy;


"Your comments show your ignorance (or education level) even before your lack of reading capability shows up --- Santana's career record is 105-90. For you and the other reading impaired, that is 15 games over .500."

Which translates to a 13-11 record  over a 9 year span. THat's 1 game better than .500.

Saying that he is better than a staff a year ago that didn't have an "ace" on it proves nothing.

NIce try buddy.


Too bad for Meds, he's a good guy & ready to take over as our lead pitcher, looking at 2 years to recover fully & success rate at 20%  after 2 TJ operations doesnt look good for a comeback, Beachy is almost at 2 yr mark lets hope he can fully recover or were gonna have to reload


We signed a carer .500 pitcher with a high ERA and I'm supposed to feel better? Gimme a break. You think Ervin Santana is going to save this season?????????? Please. Your only hope is that Beachey and Minor get their vaginitis in check otherwise this season is over before it started.


It seems to me that when Leo was pitching coach in the 90's we didn't have a rash of TJ's.  Was it something Leo did with the staff or was it just pure luck?  Maybe Smoltz, Glavine, Avery and Maddox were just super tough hombres.  Maybe there was something to Camp Leo!!


You guys need to google Chris O'Leary pitching mechanics.  You'll find what causes pitchers to have arm injuries.  It makes it fairly easy to predict.  It has nothing to do with the throwing program under McDowell.  More throwing won't matter.  The Braves have just unfortunately drafted and developed a lot of pitchers with problematic mechanics.  Maybe there is something being taught in the minors that might be a problem, but I even doubt that.  Look at the Cardinals and Nationals.  They both have staffs full of pitchers that are injury prone based on mechanics.  If there is a silver lining, it is that the top three starters for the Nats are all ticking time bombs as well.  Strasburg, Zimmerman and Gonzalez all have had and/or will have troubles, it's just a matter of when.  


I see the injuries but they have occurred in large number with pitchers ever since I started watching the game 50 years ago. Look at how many pitchers have Tommy John surgery now before they even make the pros. It's unreal.

Some say there are easy ways to avoid it such as focusing on the fastball, and avoiding the twisting of the elbow. This always makes me think of Sandy Koufax who was a fastball pitcher, and who was cut down in the prime of his career by an elbow injury. In those days a pitcher would tear a ligament and they would disappear to a different career. If it happened young enough, you would never even hear of them. One reason we hear about it now is that they are able to come back due to modern medicine.


Time to consider going back to throwing twice between starts like Mazzone had pitchers doing. I'm not saying this is McDowell's fault, but he did change the throwing program and the injuries skyrocketed. Mazzone did a great job of keeping guys healthy. What has changed other than throwing twice between starts?


I know everyone has injuries to their pitching staff but is it just me or have the Braves had a really large amount in the last 6, 7 years?    I'm not just talking about the elbow but off the top of my head  there has been Moylan (twice), Hudson, Venters, O'Flaherty, Beachy, Medlen (twice) and then there was something that caused Jurrjens and Hanson to lose velocity.   It just seems since around 05 there have been a lot of stuff going on with the Braves pitchers.  


DOB---does insurance cover any part of a players salary when he goes down with an injury like Medlin?


@dawgfacedboyClearly you are too ignorant to even read your own stupid posts --- "
13-11 record  over a 9 year span. THat's 1 game better than .500".

Do you not know that the difference between 13 and 11 is 2, not 1? Apparently you followed the Jethro Bodine school model: grad-ge-ated the 6th grade?

The math is a lot easier than you make it --- 90 loses over 9 seasons is an average of 10, not the 11 your math provides.  What a dunce!

At least have some basis in facts for your idiotic opinions.


@dawgfacedboy Your comments show your ignorance (or education level) even before your lack of reading capability shows up --- Santana's career record is 105-90.  For you and the other reading impaired, that is 15 games over .500. 

Santana's stats for last season would qualify him as arguably the ace of the 2013 Braves with 211 innings pitched (more than any Brave and innings are something the 2014 Braves sorely need), 3.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP (2nd among Braves starters), .238 Batting Avg allowed (2nd among Braves starters), and 161 Strikeouts (3rd among Braves).

If you need to vent to relieve the frustrations in your personal life, at least understand what point you are trying to make.  I have always found it weird that people want to vent to strangers that could not care less about them... but if that is what you feel compelled to do, at least get your facts straight.

Frank Wren and Braves mgmt have done a great job!  Go Braves!


@JimmyClemons  I think Leo probably had something to do with it but on the other hand maybe  it was just plain old dumb luck.   When you have  Maddox & Glavine and Smoltz, when healthy, you have 3 guys that pitched a lot of innings and the stress of using your Bullpen multiple innings every game didn't happen.   They had issues, Steve Avery only had 3 years before he developed arm issues and Smoltz had elbow issues too and had to have TJ Surgery in 2000 but Glavine & Maddox on the other hand never had any issues and I believe Glavine never went on the DL until his last season.  


@PastorRog I think the big change has been in the type pitches they teach these players. Could be trying to turn the ball over so a righthander can break the ball in to a right hand hitter or away from a lefty. Pitching coaches seem to think that a pitcher needs 4 pitches nowadays. Anything other than the natural movement and function of the arm is difficult. Actually, throwing overhand is against the natural movement of arm, wrist, and shoulder. Some of you bloggers that have physical therapy experience can better explain that than I can.

Not that McDowell is not a good pitching coach but how many of his pitchers have needed TJ surgery compared to Leo M. Teaching a player how to pitch is a lot different than trying to teach him how to throw a pitch.


You're definitely not the only one to notice this. It's quite disheartening - we've seen three very talented young pitchers in Medlen, Beachy, and Venters have their careers derailed by arm problems. It kind of reminds you of what the Trailblazers went through with Greg Oden and Brandon Roy.

I don't know where the blame lies, or if it lies anywhere at all. It could just be a run of bad luck. But whatever it is, it sure is heartbreaking as a fan.


@MarkHodge I'm not DOB, but that question was asked and answered earlier on Twitter...

Yes it is covered to some level....but after having one TJS already the coverage might be lower this time..


@RBI @dawgfacedboyUh, not to get in the middle of this, but you do realize that if Santana lost one more game and won one less game his record would be 12-12, right?  I've never understood the whole "10 games over .500" thing.  I mean, I understand the concept, but mathematically it's incorrect.



If it was my elbow and my ligaments, I'd be looking into some other surgeons. I know, I know, Andrews is the best....or WAS he the best?

TJ surgery is very common in MLB these days and Andrews isn't doing ALL the surgeries. Were I Kris I'd be talking to some other players and perhaps doctors.