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.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.