Kris Medlen ready to face hitters for first time since Tommy John surgery

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Royals right-hander Kris Medlen missed the entire 2014 season following the second Tommy John surgery of his career, but he’s inching closer to game action.

According to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com, Medlen is scheduled to travel to the team’s complex in Surprise, Arizona on Monday to begin facing hitters. He’s about 13 months removed from surgery right now, but the Royals are understandably being cautious about his rehab process. The hope is that he could be a candidate to contribute around midseason.

After being non-tendered by the Braves last November, Medlen joined the Royals on a two-year, $8.5 million contract with a $10 million mutual option for 2017. The 29-year-old owns a 2.95 ERA over 61 starts and 91 relief appearances in his career, so he’s a fine gamble.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.