Veteran right-hander Kris Medlen is reportedly returning to the majors on a minor league deal with the Braves, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien writes. Medlen’s option was declined by the Royals last November.
Medlen, 31, labored through 24 1/3 innings and a 7.77 ERA in six starts for the Royals last spring. The remainder of his season was lost to a bout of rotator cuff inflammation in his right shoulder, the latest in a long history of injuries that includes two Tommy John surgeries. He last pitched a full season with the Braves in 2013, touting a 3.11 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 over 197 innings.
Per O’Brien’s report, the deal does not include an invitation to spring training. Earning a major league job doesn’t appear to be out of the question, but Medlen is expected to spend additional time rehabbing his shoulder and refining his mechanics before making any big strides on the mound. While there’s no timetable for his return to the majors, it’s a huge step forward for the righty, who was supposedly contemplating retirement after cutting ties with the Royals during the offseason. Via O’Brien:
I’m giving it a go and Coppy (Braves general manager John Coppolella) and Co. are being patient and 100 percent supportive,” Medlen said. “Couldn’t be happier about the situation compared to where I was mentally about four months ago.
The contract has yet to be confirmed by the team.