Medlen has allowed 10 hits, four runs (two earned) and three walks with eight strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings at Mississippi, where he needed just 71 pitches to work six innings (four hits, one run, one walk) in his most recent start Sunday. He could be promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett soon.
“Just trying to get a better feel for all my pitches and get deeper into games, use up some more pitches,” Medlen said.
Braves fans remember him as the baby-faced underdog who worked his way into a spot in the rotation and seemed poised for big things before his second Tommy John surgery in spring training 2014. He had a 41-25 record and 3.25 ERA in 173 games (75 starts) over five seasons with the Braves through 2013, and made headlines in 2012 when he went 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 50 games including 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in 12 starts after a midseason move to the rotation.
He had a $5.8 million contract for 2014 and was set to be a featured piece of the Braves rotation before again tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, required a second Tommy John surgery that kept him out of the entire season, his last in the Braves organization.
The Royals gave him a two-year, $8.5 million deal because Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore, a former Braves assistant GM, thought so highly of Medlen that he was willing to gamble on the pitcher coming back from a second Tommy John surgery.
After going 6-2 with a 4.01 ERA in 15 games (eight starts) for the Royals in 2015, Medlen twice was sidelined by shoulder woes in 2016 and went 1-3 with a 7.77 ERA in six major league starts. The Royals declined his 2017 option and he considered retirement, but changed his mind after meeting with a biomechanics expert in New Orleans and discussing ways that he could alter his delivery and relieve stress on his arm.