Results tagged ‘ Kris Medlen ’

Il Preview: Gwinnett Braves

The IL Preview concludes with the Gwinnett Braves. Last season, Gwinnett had a forgettable season, finishing last in the IL with a 60-84 mark. Injuries at the Major League level and constant turnover at the minor league level crippled the Gwinnett roster.

The Braves will be led by new skipper Brian Snitker. The former Atlanta Braves third base coach has managerial experience at the minor league level, coaching over 2,000 games (1140-1145 record). He will have a good group of players leading the charge in 2014.

Pitching: The Braves pitching staff took a big hit with the losses of Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy during Spring Training. The losses will trickle down to the minor league level, as two potential G-Braves in David Hale and Gus Schlosser will start in Atlanta.

The G-Braves will start the season with Zach Stewart, Mitch Atkins, Daniel Rodriguez, Cody Martin and Yunesky Maya. All five pitchers have pitched at the Triple-A level and come with experience. Atkins has won 33 games between the Pacific Coast League and International League. Last season, he went 5-2 with a 3.47 ERA in 17 games for Double-A Mississippi.

Martin enters the season with the least amount of experience on the staff, but will be leaned on to built upon his successful 2013 campaign. In 13 games (11 starts), he went 3-4 with a 3.49 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 69.2 IP with the G-Braves.

The bullpen will feature a slew of flamethrowers, as Wirfin Obispo, Mark Lamm, Juan Jaime and Luis Vasquez will be eager to close outs games. Obispo returns to Gwinnett after going 2-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 54 relief appearances. He recorded nine saves, striking out 70 batters in 63.2 innings.

Infield: Offensively, the diamond will be loaded with a deep-talented group. Ernesto Mejia, who hit a career-high 28 homers in 2013, returns for his third season with the G-Braves. He has led the IL in RBIs two straight seasons.

Tommy La Stella will join him on the right side. The former Coastal Carolina alum is a lifetime .327 minor league hitter. The second baseman made an impression with Atlanta during Spring Training, batting .255 with four doubles and five RBIs. He will get his first taste of Triple-A baseball in 2014.

The Atlanta Braves No.2 prospect according to Baseball America, Christian Bethancourt will get his first taste of Triple-A as well. He hit .277 (99-for-358) with 21 doubles, 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 90 games for the M-Braves. He set a club record by reaching base in 40-straight games from June 13 to August 14, batting .338 (54-for-160) with 12 doubles, 10 homers and 27 RBI during the streak.

Tyler Greene and Edward Salcedo will fill out the left side. Both players have the ability to drive in runs and steal bases. Salcedo has swiped 80 bags and drove in 211 runners in 471 minor league contests, while Greene has over 150 stolen bases and 373 RBIs in his ten year career.

Outfield: The Gwinnett Braves will be fortunate to feature a major-league like outfield, as Jose Constanza, Todd Cunningham and Joey Terdoslavich will be manning one of the three outfield positions. Terdoslavich returns after a banner season with Gwinnett. He was named an International League midseason and postseason All-Star after hitting .318 (102-for-321) with 24 doubles, 18 home runs and 58 RBI in 85 games. He was named Gwinnett’s Most Valuable player by Atlanta and Gwinnett. He was as selected to represent Team USA in the 15th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, but did not participate due to his MLB call-up on 7/4.

Constanza returns for his fourth season with Gwinnett. The longest tenured G-Brave returns for his fourth season with the ball club. Constanza enters the season as the G-Braves all-time hits (306), triples (11) and stolen bases (58) leader. In three seasons, he has tallied a .301 (306-for-1,118) batting average with 19 doubles and 69 RBIs.

Cunningham, the switch-hitting outfielder led the squad in hitting with a .265 (113-for-427) batting average. He tallied 13 doubles, five triples, two home runs, 38 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 116 games.

Projected Depth Chart:

(Depth chart is not official, based on projections.)

(Depth chart is not official, based on projections.)

 

-JD-

Spring Training Q&A with David Hale

This time last year, right-hander David Hale was working on adding a sinker to his repertoire and preparing for his first Triple-A season with Gwinnett.  A year later, the Marietta, GA native finds himself competing for an Opening Day roster spot with the Atlanta Braves, having already made his Major League season and postseason debuts last fall.  Gwinnett Braves Media Relations Manager Dave Lezotte caught up with Hale today at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

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Hale, Atlanta’s third-round pick in 2009 out of Princeton University, went 6-9 with a 3.22 ERA in 22 games, 20 starts for Gwinnett last year. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

DL: Last year, you made your Triple-A debut, battled back from a right shoulder strain and made your Major League debut by season’s end.  A lot of things happened to you in one season.  What did you learn from those experiences?

DH: Just to stick with it, and to improve on the stuff that I have.  I added another pitch last year, my sinker.  It gave me a lot of confidence in pitching, and I could focus more on the art of pitching instead of just trying to overpower people.  I could actually go at them with a pitch that I could come in on them and then go away on them.  It’s more of an art to me now, to focus on pitching like that.

DL: September 13, 2013, you made your Major League debut for the Atlanta Braves.  Being from Marietta, growing up a Braves fan and getting a chance to make a debut in front of your family and friends, what was that like?

DH: It was incredible, I had so many people there that I haven’t seen in years.  To have all them come out and support me, it means a lot, it really does.

DL: You worked 5.0 scoreless, four-hit innings and struck out nine in that game.  You didn’t have more than nine strikeouts in any Triple-A start all season.  Did your performance surprise you that night?

DH: I think it did.  It was good for me because it gave me some confidence; let me know that I can perform at that level.  I couldn’t have asked for a better outing, just to do that in front of my family and friends, and like I said, to give myself some confidence.

DL: You got a win the next time out on September 26 vs. Philadelphia, and not long after, you were named to the Braves’ postseason roster.  How shocking was that?

DH: You know, I really wasn’t expecting that.  When it came down to it, I guess they were looking for a long relief kind of guy, and I was able to fill that spot.  It was a blast; it’s something that I certainly won’t ever forget.

DL: You pitched in Game 3 of the NLDS at Los Angeles, a tough 13-6 loss for the Braves.  Still, it was a huge personal moment for you at the end of that game.  What was it like stepping on the mound in the playoffs, at Dodger Stadium of all places?

DH: It was pretty cool to be on the mound during the playoff atmosphere.  Like you said, L.A., that place is enormous; I didn’t realize it was the largest stadium in the league.  It was a little daunting, but we were down a little bit, so that took away (some) of the nerves because it was out of our hands.  But still, my heart was racing and it was fun to be there.

DL: When we talked last season, one of the things we focused on was your use of video as preparation at the Triple-A level.  You have access to even more of that at the Major League level, what is your preparation like here?

DH: I kind of do the same thing.  We have a lot of the same video stuff in the big leagues as in Triple-A, so I always like watching that.  I get a feel for the hitter before I ever see him, so it’s like I’ve faced him before.  It’s being comfortable through knowledge, I guess.

DL: This year at Spring Training, you’re competing for a Major League roster spot.  What is that competition process like?

DH: It’s pretty stiff.  We have a lot of good starting pitching, so I’m just doing the best I can and hopefully putting the ball in the decision-makers’ courts.

DL: What are you working on the most this spring?

DH: Consistency, that’s something I’ll say for the rest of my career.  Working on that sinker, just being consistent with it, as well as my off-speed pitches.

DL: Do you have a good feel for that sinker so far this year?

DH: Yeah, it actually is feeling really good right now.  I’ve got to get that off-speed stuff going again, but it’s early obviously, and that’s why we have Spring Training.  Just getting the feel back.

DL: You’ve been a starter and a reliever in your minor league career.  Would you accept either role in the Majors?

DH: I’ll catch if they want me to.  Whatever they want me to do to be on this roster, I’ll do it.

DL: This is a young pitching staff, both the rotation and the bullpen.  Who do the young guys look up to on the staff?

DH: Like you said, it’s a pretty young staff.  (Kris) Medlen has taken on a big leadership role.  Then you have Freddy (Garcia), he’s been around forever, so we all look up to him.

DL: If you end up back in Gwinnett at some point this season, how do you handle that?

DH: Just stick with it and just keep getting better through practice.  I don’t think any team has ever had 25 men on it for the entire season.  I just need to put myself in position to take a spot if one opens up.

Medlen Withdraws From Classic

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Atlanta Braves right-hander and former Gwinnett Brave, Kris Medlen announced that he has withdrawn his name from the World Baseball Classic tournament.

Medlen, who is expecting his first child in the next few weeks, decided that time was not in his favor, so on Friday afternoon at Coolray Field in front of a handful of Braves fans, he announced that he would no longer participate in the classic.
Medlen, who began the season in the bullpen in 2012, was arguably the most dominant starting pitcher in the MLB down the stretch. He posted a 9-0 record with a 0.97 ERA, 84 strikeouts, 10 walks in 83.2 innings.

The 27-year old was disappointed in withdrawing his name, as he was one of few American players to take the plunge and commit early in the process. However, he admitted that he may have jumped the gun a little bit early and did not account for the birth of his child falling near his departure date.
Medlen will leave Team USA in a bind, as they will go into the classic with only three starting pitchers. R.A. Dickey, Derek Holland and Ryan Vogelsong will anchor the staff, as Team USA will try to win their first WBC title.

Despite Medlen’s disappointment of withdrawing late in the game, he has received support from the Braves organization, USA Manager Joe Torre and fellow players throughout the MLB.USA2

“You only have your first kid once,” said Atlanta Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez at the same Coolray Field event.

Medlen will return to his regular routine, preparing for Spring Training after the birth of his child.
The right-hander is a permanent mainstay in Gwinnett Braves history, as he was the first G-Braves pitcher to record a victory. To read more about his climb to the MLB and his history with the Gwinnett Braves, click here.

As Medlen prepares for the season, so do the Gwinnett Braves. They kick off the season Thursday, April 4th at 7:05 p.m. against the Charlotte Knights at Coolray Field. For more information on the G-Braves or Coolray Field, visit the website at Gwinnettbraves.com, or through or social media outlets at facebook.com/GwinnettBraves1 and twitter.com/GwinnettBraves!

-JD

All Things Five

Anniversary MarkHard to believe, but the 2013 International League season (and our home opener at Coolray Field) is just 85 days away!  With April 4 quickly approaching, we’re starting to lift the curtain on some of the things you can expect to see for the upcoming season of Gwinnett Braves Baseball.

The first major announcement occured this morning with the launch of the Fifth Season campaign and logo (pictured left).  Celebrations of the anniversary season include a new alumni Bobblehead Series and brand new 5-Pack Plans.  The series of five bobbleheads features G-Braves who have gone on to stardom in Atlanta, including Brandon Beachy, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel and Kris Medlen.  Conveniently, you can purchase tickets to all five bobblehead giveaway nights in the Bobblehead Pack, one of the four 5-Pack Plans that were rolled out in today’s announcement.

The 5-Packs also include a Fireworks Pack (all five dates are Friday Fireworks nights), a Best 5 Games Pack (our most popular games including Opening Night on April 4 and July 4) and a Silver Sluggers Pack (five day games).  Reinforcing the five theme, each 5-Pack starts at just $50.  You can get more details and buy online as well by visiting gwinnettbraves.com/5pack.

To add to the excitement of Season Five, gwinnettbraves.com is hosting a look back at some of the great players that have played for the G-Braves in the team’s first four seasons.  Expect to read up on guys like Barbaro Canizares (this week’s feature), Matt YoungTodd Redmond and Mauro Gomez in addition to the likes of Freeman, Kimbrel and others.  A new “5th Season Friday” feature will debut each Friday through the end of March. 

Is that enough fives for you yet?  Me neither.  As if the baseball gods had a hand in it, the G-Blog was announced as the 55th most visited ProBlog on the MLBlogs Network for the past year.  Fifth place would have been more fitting, but it’s an honor to finish near the middle of the Top 100 in our first year.  You can check out the entire list over at mlblogs.mlblogs.com.

Give yourself a high-5 for reading this post and head over to gwinnettbraves.com for more on the 2013 season!

-DL

Medlen Faces His Toughest Test Tonight

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

6.12.12 GBraves Game Notes

Kris Medlen (0-1, 4.91) is expected to make his third start in a Gwinnett Braves uniform this season, as he will oppose the International League’s top team in the form of the Pawtucket Red Sox (40-25). The Paw Sox were the first team to reach the No. 10, 20, 30 and 40-win plateu already this season and they possess a 2.5 game lead on Lehigh Valley for first place in the IL North. The G-Braves (35-30) currently reside in second place of the IL South after losing 10 of their last 13 games.

Medlen is stretching out to become a starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and Tuesday night in Rhode Island should be the start that the G-Braves let him loose. Through his two previous starts for the G-Braves this season, the right-hander has yielded nine hits, four runs and has struck out eight while walking just two.

Medlen’s first start for Gwinnett was against the IL South leading Charlotte Knights on June 2. The righty was only allowed 60 pitches or four innings, whichever happened first. Medlen threw 66 pitches and lost the game after he allowed four runs on five hits in 2.1 innings of work. In his second start, the right-hander was given a little more freedom, working five scoreless innings en route to a no decision in Pennsylvania against Lehigh Valley on June 7.

Tuesday night should be the start that G-Braves manager Dave Brundage takes off the training wheels for Kris Medlen. It should be a good tune-up regardless, as the Paw Sox possess a great deal of Major League ready talent.

Former G-Brave Mauro Gomez and his 13 home runs, 43 RBI, 121 total bases and .296 batting average await Medlen, alongside his teammate who is one of the top prospects in baseball, Lars Anderson. The big first baseman has eight home runs and 34 RBI, alongside his 88 total bases this season, ensuring that it will be a great test for the Atlanta right-hander.

Don’t forget that Jose Constanza, J.C. Boscan and Julio Teheran are all back in G-Braves gear again. The three were sent back to Gwinnett on Monday, following their recent promotions to Atlanta. All three provided a much-needed boost to one of the best team’s in Major League Baseball. The Braves couldn’t be happier with their contributions either, as Atlanata has rattled off six wins in their last seven games.

Hopefully, Gwinnett’s offense will give Medlen some early support, as they did for Monday night’s winning starter Yohan Flande. The G-Braves drilled a season-high five home runs in the game and knocked around 14 hits in their 11-8 dismantling of the IL’s top team.

Lance Zawadzki led the charge with a 3-for-5 night, including two home runs. Ernesto Mejia lifted off for his team-leading 12th home run of the season, while Josh Wilson banged out his third homer of the year and Felix Pie registered his first home of the season. Medlen will be looking for much of the same from the G-Braves offense on Tuesday night as they oppose former Major League veteran and current Paw Sox right-hander Brandon Duckworth (6-1, 4.22). First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from McCoy Stadium.

By: Tony Piraro

G-Braves Notes for 6.8.12 at Lehigh Valley

Jurrjens will try and snap Gwinnett’s four-game losing streak tonight. (Karl Moore/Gwinnett Braves)

Everything I said in yesterday’s post about turning things around can be repeated about tonight’s game.  For six and a half innings of last night’s game, it looked like Kris Medlen and the G-Braves were going to halt the slide.  Medlen turned in 5.0 scoreless innings, his first scoreless start since 2009 while also with Gwinnett, and the G-Braves held a 2-0 lead heading to stretch time.  After the bottom of the seventh, Lehigh Valley had struck for five runs in an inning that featured a hit-by-pitch, missed catch error, wild pitch and balk.  The IronPigs went on to a 5-2 win.

So now it’s Jair Jurrjens’ turn to play the role of stopper.  The G-Braves haven’t lost five-straight this season, and if they don’t want to reach that point tonight, it’ll be on Jurrjens to look more like that 8.0-inning ace from May 27 than the struggling pitcher that allowed 10 runs and three homers his last time out on June 1.  Meanwhile, the lineup has got to produce more than the four runs they’ve scored over the first three games of this series.  Facing left-hander Pat Misch (3-8, 5.01) tonight might be the cure to what ails the bats, but keep in mind that Misch is looking to end a three-game losing streak of his own and pitched fairly well against Gwinnett despite a loss on May 29 (7.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER).

Tonight’s Game Notes: 6.8.12 GBraves Game Notes

First pitch from Coca-Cola Park is up at 7:05 PM, listen in on WDUN 550 AM / 102.9 FM and WDUN.com.

-DL

G-Braves Notes for 6.7.12 at Lehigh Valley

Can Kris Medlen rebound from a shaky first start and help the G-Braves halt the slide? That’s the focus tonight at Lehigh Valley. (Melinda Pease/Gwinnett Braves)

Last night’s 5-1 loss to Lehigh Valley has the G-Braves now 1.5 games behind Charlotte for the South Division lead and wondering what went wrong.  After a tremendous 17-7 April and decent 15-15 May, Gwinnett has opened up June at 1-5.  The offense is hitting just .179 (33-for-184) with one home run and 14 RBIs this month, while the pitching staff is posting a collective 5.29 ERA (30 ER in 51.o IP).  It’s high time to turn things around.

Tonight’s Game Notes:  6.7.12 GBraves Game Notes

Kris Medlen hopes to be a huge part of that turnaround in his second start for the G-Braves tonight.  Medlen struggled through 2.1 innings in his first Triple-A start since the 2009 season his last time out against Charlotte, allowing four runs on five hits including one home run.  If he hopes to be on the fast track to the Atlanta rotation, he’s going to need a much better start this time out.  The G-Braves could use it, their only win in the last eight games remains Julio Teheran’s nine-inning complete-game masterpiece on June 3 at Charlotte.

Medlen (0-1, 15.43) is opposed by veteran right-hander Scott Elarton (5-2, 3.55) of Lehigh Valley tonight in game three of the four-game series in Allentown, PA.  If Elarton’s name sounds familiar, it’s because not long ago he was a pretty solid Major Leaguer.  He pitched 10 MLB seasons from 1998 to 2008 with the likes of Houston, Colorado, Cleveland and Kansas City.  Where’s he been since?  The 36-year-old threw in 16 games for IL South rival Charlotte in 2010, was off the radar in 2011 before being signed to a minor league contract by Philadelphia this season.

Two MLB vets go head to head starting at 7:05 PM tonight, listen to the broadcast on WDUN 550 AM / 102.9 FM and WDUN.com.

-DL

Medlen Set To Start For Gwinnett Saturday

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

The opener of a four-game home-and-home series between the top two teams in the International League South Division went to second-place Charlotte on Friday night at Coolray Field. The Knights put up 10 runs on the strength of three home runs to defeat the South-leading Gwinnett Braves, 10-3. Charlotte’s win trimmed the G-Braves’ lead in the division to 1.5 games.

Starter Jair Jurrjens (L, 3-3) surrendered 10 runs, six earned, on 12 hits in a losing effort. Former IL MVP Dan Johnson blasted solo home runs off Jurrjens in the third and fifth innings, and Hector Gimenez homered as well in the fifth against the G-Braves’ right-hander.

The G-Braves jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as Tyler Pastornicky singled in his first plate appearance with Gwinnett, took second on a single by Stefan Gartrell, stole third and scored on an RBI single by Felix Pie.

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

Charlotte Knights (31-25, 2nd IL South) vs Gwinnett (32-23, 1st IL South) 

The Atlanta Braves want to turn Kris Medlen into a starting pitcher, so they have reassigned the big leaguer to Triple-A Gwinnett to stretch him out. The right-hander has been with the Braves since the 2009 season as a middle reliever and an occasional spot-starter. In fact, during the 2010 season Medlen started 14 games for Atlanta and registered a 6-2 record with a 3.68 ERA. The Braves are hoping that the righty can continue that success over the course of an entire Major League season.

This season with the Atlanta Braves, Medlen is 1-1 with a 3.49 ERA amidst 28.1 innings of work. The righty has surrendered 11 runs on 27 hits while he has struck out 17 batters while walking just seven. Since it’s just his first start the G-Braves will be very cautious with him. Medlen is predicted to throw either four innings or 60 pitches, whichever happens first.

Saturday, June 2 Starting Line-up from Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Georgia:

The International League South-leading Gwinnett Braves (32-23) conclude their 10-game homestand on Saturday in the series finale against the Charlotte Knights (31-25). Right-hander Kris Medlen (0-0, 0.00) will make his first start since being optioned to Gwinnett by Atlanta. He’ll be opposed by Charlotte right-hander Terry Doyle (4-3, 3.05). First pitch at Coolray Field is scheduled for 7:05 PM. The game will be broadcast on radio on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling play-by-play.

The first 2,000 fans attending Saturday night’s game will receive a Chopper Coin Bank presented by Delta Community Credit Union. Chopper and the G-Braves will also celebrate a belated “Groundhogs Day” at Coolray Field. Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com for more information.

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

Charlotte Knights Batting Order:

1) Greg Golson – CF

2) Drew Garcia – 2B

3) Dan Johnson – DH

4) Brent Morel – 3B

5) Jordan Danks – RF

6) Josh Phegley – C

7) Jim Gallagher – 1B

8) Justin Green – LF

9) Ozzie Martinez – SS

G-Braves Batting Order

1) Luis Durango – CF

2) Tyler Pastornicky – SS

3) Stefan Gartrell – DH

4) Ernesto Mejia – 1B

5) Felix Pie – RF

6) Joey Terdoslavich – 3B

7) Collin DeLome – LF

8) Jose Yepez – C

9) Lance Zawadzki – 2B

By: Tony Piraro

Gwinnett Stretching Out Medlen To Become Starter

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

The Atlanta Braves want to turn Kris Medlen into a starting pitcher, so they have reassigned the big leaguer to Triple-A Gwinnett to stretch him out. The right-hander has been with the Braves since the 2009 season as a middle reliever and an occasional spot-starter. In fact, during the 2010 season Medlen started 14 games for Atlanta and registered a 6-2 record with a 3.68 ERA. The Braves are hoping that the righty can continue that success over the course of an entire Major League season.

This season with the Atlanta Braves, Medlen is 1-1 with a 3.49 ERA amidst 28.1 innings of work. The righty has surrendered 11 runs on 27 hits while he has struck out 17 batters while walking just seven.

The move was obviously made to allow Medlen the proper time to stretch out as a starting pitcher in Gwinnett, instead of trying to re-tool at the Major League level. He shouldn’t be down in Gwinnett for very long, but Medlen will be here as long as it takes for him to get his strength back to go deeper into game’s.

Medlen’s first appearance as a starting pitcher for the G-Braves will occur on Saturday night against the second place Charlotte Knights. It will be a 7:05 p.m. scheduled first pitch from Coolray Field, as the right-hander is set for a difficult match-up against a potent Triple-A line-up. However, since it’s just his first start the G-Braves will be very cautious with him. Medlen is predicted to throw either four innings or 60 pitches, whichever happens first.

By: Tony Piraro

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