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.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.