ATLANTA -- While the Braves continue to look for an external option to upgrade their starting pitching, manager Fredi Gonzalez said right-hander Kris Medlen will move from the bullpen to the rotation and start Tuesday against the Marlins if no trade is made.
Medlen has appeared in 38 games as a reliever this season and has not started a game in the Major Leagues since 2010. Medlen has often been considered an option to join the Braves' rotation this year. He was in the mix in Spring Training and was sent to the Minor Leagues in June with the purpose of building up his endurance so he could join the rotation.
Each time, however, Medlen was sent back to the bullpen. But with veteran Jair Jurrjens struggling and rookie Randall Delgado back in Triple-A, the Braves are set to give Medlen his first shot at the starting rotation since he had Tommy John surgery in August 2010.
Medlen said he is excited, but cautious about the opportunity to be a starter.
"I'm really excited, don't get me wrong, but a lot of things can change," Medlen said. "I know they're looking for a veteran dude or whatever. But I'm more than willing to try it out."
Medlen has been an important piece of the Braves' bullpen this season and has excelled in his role. In 54 1/3 innings, he has a 2.48 ERA and a 1.086 WHIP.
Medlen has made 18 starts in the Major Leagues. As a starter, he is 6-2 with a 4.31 ERA. In 102 1/3 innings, Medlen has struck out 81 batters and walked 27.
Though he has been extended once already this season and threw three innings Wednesday, it will still take a few starts before Medlen is ready for a typical starter's workload. Gonzalez said he will likely be limited to 65-75 pitches Tuesday.
After moving between the bullpen and rotation multiple times in his career, Medlen said getting to the point where he can shoulder a starter's workload is the hardest part of the transition.
"It's just a matter of getting my pitch count up and all that, I think that's the biggest hurdle for me," Medlen said. "Especially in August, in Atlanta, getting up to 100 pitches."
As Medlen joins the rotation, Gonzalez said Jurrjens will move to the bullpen and be used in long relief. He said Jurrjens took the reassignment well.
"He was fine," Gonzalez said. "I didn't expect him to be any different."