Kris Medlen shines again in third time through rotation

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Braves right-hander Kris Medlen spent the first four months of the 2012 regular season in a relief role.

It will be a shame if he’s ever asked to go back.

The 26-year-old from Santa Ana, California made his third start of the season on Saturday night against the Mets and was brilliant yet again, allowing just a single run in 6 1/3 innings while striking out seven New York batters. He yielded one run in five-plus innings versus the Astros last Sunday and one run in five innings against the Marlins the week before that.

Fleshed out, Medlen has a 1.62 ERA, a 16/4 K/BB ratio and a .583 opponents’ OPS in three turns through the Atlanta rotation. The Braves are 3-0 in his starts.

Tommy Hanson is just about ready to return from a back injury and a rotation spot will have to be cleared for his arrival. Medlen might be the easiest choice for demotion because of his past experience as a reliever and his willingness to handle any gig, but the Braves would do well to let the good times roll.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.