"We've got eight or nine guys battling for four spots so it’s going to be interesting," Medlen told 790 The Zone's Hans Heiserer last week on the Barnhardt and Durham Show. "I'm ready to help our team win," he added.
Medlen, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow late in the 2010 season, after putting up the best numbers of his professional career, has only seen 2.1 innings of work since his injury. That outing was memorable for Medlen for a number of reasons, but most of all because it came in an emergency situation in the last game of the 2011 season that finished off the Braves epic skid in extra inning and effectively ending their season.
When asked about that particular game Medlen said, “It was a great way personally to end the season for me, but you know you don’t really ever look at it that way. We ended up losing that game and not making the playoffs which was terrible, but, I mean, from what I went through... it was huge for me to get back on the mound. I would be crazy to say that I wasn't nervous ‘cause I was running onto the field like, am I really going into this game right now?”
Medlen has had nearly two full off seasons and all but two innings of the whole 2011 campaign to rehab. When asked if he was at 100 percent Medlen confidently said, "I think so, I haven’t thrown off the mound yet, but I think this week I’m starting. Probably get like five or six bullpens in before I head out [for spring training]. We've been working out up at The Factory in Duluth. It’s the best I've felt my entire baseball career. I don’t feel anything in my elbow anymore. I feel amazing and I’m so ready to go.”
Medlen will have his work cut out for him as the competition will be stiffer with the crowded pool of talent the Braves have available in Atlanta and throughout the farm system. However, with plenty of experience in the fire, Medlen is a confident veteran who seems hungry for a starting spot.
Pitchers and catchers report to the Braves spring training complex at Disney World's Wide World of Sports Complex on February 18.