Medlen accepting of role in Braves' bullpen

Medlen accepting of role in Braves' bullpen

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Kris Medlen would like the opportunity to serve as a starting pitcher again, and there are a number of Braves fans who would like to see him begin this season in the rotation.

But as Medlen prepares for the upcoming season, he understands that he will likely begin the year in the bullpen.

"I think I'm more of a security blanket in case 14 injuries [to starting pitchers] happen," Medlen said. "I keep getting asked what I want to do, and you obviously know the answer. But I know my role, which is to be a bullpen guy or a backup starter. I've accepted it and whatever. I'm ready to play baseball. That's pretty much it."

Medlen proved effective while going 5-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 14 starts during the 2010 season. His impressive campaign ended in early August that year, when he blew out his elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery. He returned last year in time to make two relief appearances during the regular season's final week.

With the Braves already possessing a surplus of starting pitching, Medlen could bring even more value with the versatility that he brings to the bullpen. The dependable 26-year-old right-hander has the ability to handle any late-inning role. His presence could lessen the strain placed on primary setup men Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty.

"Everything has worked out for me in my career," Medlen said. "So I have no complaints or rights to say I shouldn't be doing this or anything like that. I'm going to keep busting my tail. That has gotten me to where I am now."