The view of the huge injury to Atlanta Braves ace Tim Hudson looks different in the rearview mirror. Now the Braves look to be an even better team than they were before with somehow more starting pitchers than they need, even without Hudson. This is a team that looks like it could go to a 7-man rotation if Hudson were healthy. Not long ago however Kris Medlen would have been an easy choice to move out of the rotation to the bullpen. All of that has changed.
Medlen wasn’t possibly going to the bullpen when Brandon Beachy returned from the disabled list; he was going without a doubt. His spot was already getting warm for him. The unfortunate situation surrounding the Hudson injury changed that plan and Medlen has done what a real major leaguer would do. He stepped up big time. Many said it when Huddy went down. Someone had to step up. A few have stepped up but the biggest steps were taken by Medlen.
In a strange way this chance to better his performance might have given his career as a starter the second chance it was about to crave. Where at one point the starters for the Braves knew someone had to go soon, after the injury they all knew that they weren’t allowed to pitch in a starter’s role, they had to. When Medlen understood that he had to bring it or the Braves large lead might be in jeopardy, he brought it.
Now the Braves have Paul Maholm coming back from injury soon and the question isn’t who will move out of the starting rotation. The question this time around is what they will do with Maholm. Whatever the choice is, you can bet that Medlen can plan to toe that rubber every fifth day unless he will need to do so every sixth day for a while. What a difference a few starts can make.