There’s been no official announcement yet because he’s seeking a second opinion, but Braves right-hander Kris Medlen told reporters today that he expects to undergo Tommy John elbow surgery.
Medlen injured his elbow on a pitch Sunday and actually remained in the game for two more pitches, but eventually exited after bouncing a ball to the plate while clearly in pain. He’s already had one Tommy John surgery in his career, so Medlen admitted that staying in the game was mostly him being frustrated and in denial.
His injury–along with fellow Atlanta starters Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor also being hurt–is a big part of why the Braves signed Ervin Santana to a one-year, $14.1 million deal this morning. Medlen was one of the NL’s best starters in both 2012 and 2013, combining to throw 335 innings with a 2.47 ERA and 277/70 K/BB ratio after coming back from the first surgery. Going under the knife a second time would cost him all of 2014 and potentially part of 2015 as well.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.