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Kris Medlen leaves game with right forearm strain

Mar 9, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

kris medlen getty Getty Images

Braves right-hander Kris Medlen made an early departure from a Grapefruit League appearance on Sunday against the Mets after appearing to injure his elbow on a pair of consecutive fourth-inning pitches.

Medlen grabbed at his throwing elbow following his second-to-last delivery of the game and then skipped to the Braves’ dugout after his final pitch, which had no life on it and landed well in front of home plate.

It sure looked like a serious injury, but there’s really no point in speculating. The Braves’ medical staff should provide an update on his status soon.

Medlen, 28, boasts an outstanding 2.47 ERA in his last 335 major league frames.

He underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in the summer of 2010.

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UPDATE, 3:11 p.m. ET: According to MLB.com beat reporter Mark Bowman, the early diagnosis is a right forearm strain. Which could mean anything. Medlen will be reevaluated by team doctors on Monday.

  1. proudlycanadian - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Ervin Santana has another reason to delay making up his mind.

  2. halladaysbiceps - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Another pitcher made out of paper mache. Like Cole Hamels and numerous other pitchers in the 21st century, they don’t have the strong arms of previous generations. Unbelievable. I hope Medlen isn’t hurt, but when you talk elbow, it’s never good.

    • kingscourt25 - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:11 PM

      grrr, rub some dirt on it, grrr

      • halladaysbiceps - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        Hahaha! Nah. I don’t think rubbing dirt on his elbow will do any good. My point is that these pitchers today are so babied (200 innings is a workhorse), this does not surprise me. The youngest, talented pitchers in the game are dropping like flies (Harvey, Strasburg a couple of years ago, Hamel, Medlin, etc.). It is not understood why. Only speculation. I don’t think these guys throw enough innings to stay healthy.

      • spudchukar - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        ‘Cepts, it is more perception than reality. Granted we live in a new era, but A) pitchers got hurt in the old days too. B) there are many more players in today’s game, and C) media reports highlight and focus on injuries much more. My guess is today’s players are just as tough, certainly in better shape, and play in just as much pain.

        Perhaps the larger body frames, and increased stress from more maximum effort plays a part. But my guess is we just hear about today’s players more.

      • gothapotamus90210 - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:54 PM

        @’cepts … Like some other commenters, I don’t think pitchers are getting injured any more frequently than they did 30-40 years ago, but regarding the “babying”:

        Before the end of the Reserve Clause, player salaries were peanuts, so teams didn’t have an investment in players like they do now. Even when FA commenced and Nolan Ryan became the first $1M player, that’d be around $3.3M in 2014.

        Torn ulnar? Send ‘em to the glue factory.

      • gothapotamus90210 - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:26 AM

        @cepts … been thinking about this all night, a few points:

        More pitchers in the MLB due to expansion and specialization:

        # of pitchers used in 1983 = 390 (over 37,742 IP, 4,218 games and 10,978 appearances)

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/1983-value-pitching.shtml

        # of pitchers used in 2013 = 679 (over 43,653.1 IP, 4,862 games and 19,196 appearances)

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/2013-value-pitching.shtml

        If the perception is true that MLB pitchers aren’t holding up like they used to, it may be a function of a watered down pool of MLB pitchers. A deep statistical analysis would be needed, but for those (hypothetical) additional 289 pitchers who didn’t make the cut in ’83 vs. ’13, what was their injury rate – was it higher than the 390? (i.e. these guys had poor mechanics, poor performance or generally injury prone which prevented them from making the MLB).

    • yahmule - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      Guys have always blown out their arms and they always will. Throwing a baseball (or any object) that hard is unnatural as hell.

    • fearlessleader - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:17 PM

      Hey, HardballTalk should do a post about sometime about the perception that pitchers today are more fragile than pitchers of the past: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/08/28/the-long-sad-history-of-injured-pitchers/

  3. realgone2 - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    My friend’s wife is best friends with Kris’s wife. I’ve met him several times. He’s a really nice guy and great pitcher. This really sucks if it’s as serious as it sounds. So, does FW give a ring to Santana?

    • spudchukar - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:57 PM

      Yeah seems to be a really good kid, and sometimes forearm strain/weakness/numbness can be somewhat minor, but the odds aren’t good, and watching him come off the mound, my guess is he will at least be examined for UCL ligament damage. Good luck to the Braves hurler.

    • bolweevils2 - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      Don’t the Braves always seem to have several above average starters waiting in the wings they call up in situations like these?

      But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We don’t even know the extent of injury yet.

      • realgone2 - Mar 10, 2014 at 6:48 PM

        Well now Beachy is hurt too. This isn’t turning out be a great season so far.

  4. leylandshospicenurse - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Wouldn’t hurt to get Santana if its looking bad, but I bet they will rock Garcia. That’s the Braves way, as sad as it sounds. Another injury or ineffectiveness would end this teams chances at the playoffs.

  5. recoveringcubsfan - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    One thing you can say about the Braves, as an organization, they don’t get too worried by injuries. Remember that last year they lost a good chunk of the bullpen and then Heyward for a stretch, then Hudson, and they never stopped rolling. Hopefully, Medlen isn’t hurt badly. Not only is it just morally repugnant to celebrate an injury, to anyone, I also hope he’s Ok because while I think Washington is the superior team this year, I want them to have to win legitimately against the Braves, who are pretty great themselves. But Kris Medlen has become a special pitcher and he’d be a big loss.

    • voteforno6 - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      I didn’t realize that wins can be illegitimate. Every team has injuries, every season. The difference is how much depth an organization has, to overcome those injuries.

  6. ch0psuey - Mar 9, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    Yikes. The ATL-NYM game is playing on MLB Network right now, only bottom of 1st ‘tho.

    • baberuthslegs - Mar 9, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      I was just watching also. It seemed like 90 percent of the spoken part of the telecast pertained to matters NOT relating to actual events in the game. You get 2 (or 3) guys in the booth and they’ll talk everything but
      the actual game being played on the field in front of them.

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