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kris-medlen-injures-elbow | August | 2010 Articles

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Kris Medlen injures elbow

Written by Joe Lucia on .

Oh dear god, this is not good. During the bottom of the 5th inning in tonight's game against the Mets, Kris Medlen threw a pitch to Jose Reyes and started shaking his right arm afterwards. This was the arm that got plunked last weekend in Cincinnati. No idea if the injury is related to that or not, but the overall word is that the injury is to his ulnar collateral ligament. Do you know what that means? Yup. If its severe, Kris will be heading down to Birmingham for an appointment with Dr Andrews. Tommy John surgery. This...sucks. It really, really sucks. Medlen was pitching fantastically for the Braves this season, and he was getting handled perfectly to keep his workload low going into October. Now, it appears to be all for naught if this injury is severe enough. So what in the hell is going to happen if Medlen is seriously hurt? 2 options come to mind. Option 1 is one that will likely turn most Braves fans' stomachs...thats right, DO THE KAWAKAMI. He's pitched one inning since the end of June, and by all accounts...he's perfectly healthy. Stamina became an issue with Kawakami last season, and with his extended rest, shouldn't be an issue this year. But...will he be effective? Thats the key. Since he was booted from the rotation once Jair Jurrjens came off the DL, the starters have been pretty awesome, with the exception of the king of erraticness, Mr Derek Lowe. The Braves can absolutely positively not afford to waste 2 rotation spots on guys that have the potential to struggle mightily like Lowe and Kawakami. There is however, another option...one that Braves fans are seemingly more receptive to. That of course, is the promotion of top prospect Mike Minor to Atlanta. The 22 year old is 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA in 5 starts since being promoted to Gwinnett on July 1st. He's got 35 strikeouts to only 10 walks in 31 2/3 innings at AAA this year. Out of all the pitching prospects in the Braves system, he is the most ready. As for his upside, its been all across the board. Upon being drafted last year, it was that of a #4. Some scouts are now saying he could be a #2 with his increase in velocity. Who in the hell really knows? He's got great stuff and can be flat out unhittable at times, but control also can be an issue for Minor. Its an interesting situation...do you go with the veteran who hasn't performed, or do you roll the dice on the rookie? It really is a critical decision with the Braves battling tooth and nail for the NL East crown. With the way the team is set up, they could absolutely roll through October and bring home a World Championship in November. If Medlen is going to be out for a good hunk of time...this could be the most important decision of Frank Wren's professional career so far.

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