Braves yet to decide how to use Medlen

Braves yet to decide how to use Medlen

ATLANTA -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said a decision has not been made about whether to bring Kris Medlen back up to the Braves as a starting pitcher or reliever. But the manager provided a clue when he said it would be difficult to remove either Mike Minor or Randall Delgado from the starting rotation right now.

When Medlen was sent to Triple-A Gwinnett two weeks ago in hopes of stretching out to be a starter, it was believed he would return after three starts to replace either Minor or Delgado in the rotation. But now that Medlen has completed those three starts, the Braves might determine that they need him to return to the relief role he held during the season's first two months.

"We're kicking around the role," Gonzalez said.

Medlen allowed 15 hits and seven earned runs in 13 1/3 innings over three starts with Gwinnett. The versatile hurler is stretched out enough to serve as a starter, but after blowing four-run leads on Sunday and Tuesday, the Braves might determine he provides more value in the bullpen.

Because Medlen went six innings against Pawtucket on Tuesday night, he would not be available to join the Braves' bullpen before Friday. If the club adds him as a reliever, Medlen would likely take the spot of Anthony Varvaro, who was promoted on Wednesday to provide bullpen depth.

Making what could have been his final start due to recent struggles, Minor seemed to solidify his spot in the rotation on Tuesday by limiting the Yankees to one run in 7 1/3 innings. It might have been the finest performance in the career of the 24-year-old left-hander, who had posted an 8.84 ERA in his previous seven starts.