It was over quickly — even a bit “anti-climactic” — but Kris Medlen is throwing a baseball again.
The right-hander, coming back from a second elbow ligament replacement surgery, threw for the first time Tuesday in a light session known as rainbow tossing. Medlen threw softly from 30 feet with am arc on the ball. He will continue the process every other day for two weeks.
“I’ve done crazier stuff during rehab — throwing weighted balls against a wall,” Medlen said. “They take it real slow when it comes to the actual act of throwing.”
Medlen is just shy of the six-month mark since his second Tommy John surgery. He blew out his elbow in a March 9 spring training game. He threw Tuesday with former Braves reliever Peter Moylan, who had his second Tommy John surgery soon after Medlen in March while with the Astros.
The 28-year old Medlen is on a one-year, $5.8 million contract and will have one more year of arbitration eligibility before free agency. He went 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in 12 starts in 2012 after moving from the bullpen to the rotation at the end of July. He was 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA in his first season as a full-time starter in 2013. Medlen won three National League Pitcher of the Month awards from August 2012 through the end of the 2013 season, while no other pitcher in either league won two in that same span. Medlen was to be one of the Braves’ top-of-the-rotation pitchers before the second injury.
“It’s an exciting day and then it’s over very quickly,” Medlen said of the 15-throw session. He will throw again on Thursday.
Medlen knows he must take it slowly and the real signs of progress will come when he starts throwing from a mound. Until then, he hopes the counter-intuitive tossing sessions won’t affect him when it comes time to let loose.
“If you were to look in the handbook on how to give a pitcher the yips that probably would be involved,” Medlen joked.