Braves starter Kris Medlen was lifted from his start against the Mets in the fifth inning Wednesday because of an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament of his pitching elbow. This according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
It may turn out to be nothing — soreness or tightness, whatever. But, as O’Brien notes, serious injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament often require Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. A tear of any sort could result in Medlen missing the rest of the season, and perhaps more.
The Braves officially converted the 24-year-old right-hander from the bullpen to the starting rotation in June and he’s been brilliant in both roles. Through 31 total appearances this season (14 starts), he has posted a 3.68 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 83 strikeouts against 21 walks over 107.2 innings.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.