Medlen apologizes after criticizing manager’s decision

Credit: Jeff Roberson

Credit: Jeff Roberson

ST. LOUIS – Sixteen hours after questioning Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez's decision to replace him with two runners on and none out in the seventh inning of Friday's 3-1 loss to St. Louis, pitcher Kris Medlen apologized to Gonzalez and said he was wrong to have aired his complaints to reporters.

“I just wanted to tell him that all I was trying to say was that I wanted to be out there, I’m a competitor and whatever else,” Medlen said Saturday. “But it just came out the wrong way. I vented to the wrong people. But I think he expects that out of his starters – I’m here because I want to be out there (on the mound), you know? I want to be in there and I’m a competitor.

“I felt like I was the guy who could have got the job done, but Downsy came in and did a great job, too. And I know what that’s like, being a reliever and having to come in in that situation.”

Reliever Scott Downs was summoned with the Braves trailing 2-1, after Medlen gave up a double and single to start the seventh inning Friday. Downs threw a wild pitch, struck out David Freese with runners at second and third, then walked Daniel Descalso before pitcher Adam Wainwright’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly pushed the lead to 3-1.

Responding to the first question in his postgame interview, a general question about him pitching well on a night when Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright pitched great, Medlen initially mentioned how he had been cruising along until making a bad pitch on a two-strike changeup that Matt Holliday hit for a solo homer and 2-1 lead in the sixth inning.

Then in the same rambling response, Medlen, who had not been asked about being taken out of the game, brought up the subject himself.

“I got taken out with 78 pitches,” he said. “I was just about to start battling. I didn’t have to battle yet, but I wasn’t given the opportunity. I guess I’m voicing the fact that I didn’t appreciate that, but I don’t know what kind of mentality we’re trying to create for our starters. But I feel like I should be able to work out of some jams.

“I know we have a good bullpen and it’s easy to go to them. Downsy did his thing. But I felt like I was doing well enough to where I was a strikeout and a double play from getting out of the inning.”

It didn’t take long for the amiable Medlen — always candid and usually his own harshest critic — to regret the comments.

“I did my five-minute venting to myself that I usually do, about how I feel and whatever else,” he said, “but I didn’t give myself the five-minute cooling-off period alone – I did it to you guys. But like I said, (Gonzalez) knows I wanted to be out there. But I was in a situation where I had no room for error, and I gave up another hit.”

Gonzalez kept his next-day comments on the matter to a minimum.

“He’s fine. It’s fine,” the manager said. “I don’t even want to talk about it (publicly)…. We talked.”

Medlen (10-12) was charged with six hits, three runs and one walk in six-plus innings, and lost his second consecutive start after winning four. He’s 4-2 with a 3.60 ERA in his past six starts, and will make his next start Thursday against Cleveland in the finale of a three-game series at Turner Field.