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Medlen has fun with knuckler vs. Astros

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- While playing catch in the outfield, Kris Medlen and Tim Hudson often end their warmup by trading approximately 10 knuckleballs.

"We get it all out of the way and then we just knuckleball each other to death," Medlen said. "It depends who is against the wind. That always makes a difference, and he always asks to be against the wind."

Medlen has no plans to add the knuckleball to his repertoire. But the Braves' right-hander was thrilled when he had the opportunity to throw one after getting ahead of Carlos Pena with an 0-2 count in the third inning of Saturday's 6-5 loss to the Astros at Osceola County Stadium.

"It was up and away, terrible," Medlen said. "But, whatever. I'm working on things, you know. It's not that I'm out there messing around or anything. I was literally trying to throw it for a strike -- and nothing. Having fun, while still getting some stuff done."

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez initially thought the 0-2 pitch to Pena simply slipped out of Medlen's hand. But he wasn't surprised when his easy-going pitcher informed him it was, indeed, a knuckleball.

"He pitches like he is in the backyard and he has fun doing it," Gonzalez said.

Other than surrendering a two-out, first-inning home run to Pena, Medlen had some fun while completing three innings against the Astros. He retired the final seven batters he faced, registered two strikeouts and overcame offensively-friendly windy conditions with the help of six ground-ball outs.

"I wasn't getting squeezed at all," Medlen said. "But I threw some pretty good pitches down in the zone and didn't get the call. That's what you're trying to do, throw the ball down at the knees. The one I left up got hit."

This marked the first time Medlen pitched in the presence of his son Max, who was born on Feb. 5.

"I walked in after the first inning and saw [my wife and son] coming in," Medlen said. "So he didn't see me give up the home run. So that was good."

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