As he prepares for Tommy John surgery, Stephen Strasburg should have plenty of time to catch up on his reading. He might want to start with the blog of another young pitcher going through the same thing: Kris Medlen.
Medlen opened the season in Atlanta’s bullpen before moving into the rotation in place of an injured Jair Jurrjens in May and outperforming Kenshin Kawakami to earn a permanent spot. Unfortunately, he hurt his elbow earlier this month and underwent Tommy John surgery after going 6-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 107 2/3 innings for the Braves.
The 24-year-old Medlen plans to chronicle his rehab over the next several months. He made his first blog entry Thursday, eight days after undergoing the procedure:
I look like a mummy…. And I could smell like one too. Can’t get the arm and leg wet yet. Have you ever tried to shower without getting your right arm and left leg wet??? I won’t go into to many details, but the kitchen sink is good for more than just washing dishes!
Medlen probably has a better chance of pitching in major league games next year than Strasburg does. Not only will he have gotten started on his rehab a few weeks earlier, but given his history out of the pen, the Braves won’t be afraid to have him return as a reliever. If his first entry is any indication, it’s going to be awfully difficult to hold him back.
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”