Sep 20, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Ervin Santana (54) delivers a pitch against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Atlanta Braves News 3/10


CBS Sports

Medlen Strains forearm in Braves’ 8-2 loss to Mets

‘Obviously, any time a pitcher walks off the mound and meets you at the foul line, you worry about that stuff,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ”But after everything kind of settled down, we’re optimistic it’s nothing really major.”

Mar 9, 2014; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kris Medlen (54) throws against the New York Mets in spring training action at Tradition Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzalez said he talked to Medlen briefly during the pitching change and again inside the clubhouse afterward.

”He wasn’t in good spirits. But after he got settled down a little bit and the trainers looked at him, I thought he was in better spirits,” Gonzalez said.

Medlen did not speak with reporters but relayed a message that he will be available Tuesday in Orlando.

Braves catcher Evan Gattis said Medlen had good stuff through three innings.

”He was executing pitches, and the next thing you know – I don’t know what he grabbed – but I knew it was his arm. It’s never a good sign, never a good feeling, to be out there and see a pitcher walk off the mound like that,” Gattis said. ”On the last pitch, he just threw a yanked changeup – I’ve never seen that – and immediately there was a problem. … He was throwing good pitches, and then it was just an out-of-the-blue kind of thing.”

 

Rant Sports

Will Kris Medlen’s Injury Put Them In the Market For a Starter?

One of the most notable names remaining on the free agent market, regardless of position, is pitcher Ervin Santana. The Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles were thought to be the two teams most interested in him, but a report surfaced on Sunday suggesting the Minnesota Twins offered Santana a three-year deal recently. Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes has speculated that the Braves may now have interest in Santana with Medlen’s status in doubt, but should they?

Santana has spent his entire career in the American League to this point, mostly with the Los Angeles Angels (2005-2012), and he had a solid season for the Kansas City Royals in 2013 (9-10 with a 3.24 ERA over 211 innings-32 starts). He has been durable, making at least 30 starts in five of the last six seasons and topping 200 innings four times in that span, so that alone should have him on Atlanta’s radar.

Medlen’s injury adds another level of uncertainty to the Braves’ starting rotation with the start of the season less than a month away, especially since he looked likely to be the Opening Day starter. Gavin Floyd and Brandon Beachy are each working their way back to full strength after undergoing Tommy John surgery, though Beachy made five starts for the Braves late last season and should be good to go for the start of the season.

 

MLB

Reliever Vasquez rusty in debut with Braves

As he made his much-anticipated Grapefruit League season debut in Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Mets, Braves right-handed reliever Luis Vasquez did not live up to the hype that was generated from the tales of what he did over the past few months in the Dominican Winter League.

Instead, Vasquez displayed some of the rust that should have been expected as he pitched in a game for the first time since suffering a right lat strain approximately two months ago. The 27-year-old sidearmer was not even cleared to begin throwing live batting practice until Wednesday.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would take all of this into account after Vasquez allowed four unearned runs, surrendered one hit and issued two walks while recording just two outs in Sunday’s eighth inning.

“I’m not going to evaluate the young man on his first [appearance],” Gonzalez said. “He’s coming back from some injuries. You can’t evaluate him. It’s not fair for him and it’s not fair for us. If we make a couple plays, including himself, he might get out of there with just giving up one run.”

Vasquez issued a leadoff walk and then made an errant throw to first base after fielding a bunt to account for the first of the two errors that led to the four unearned runs.

“It will take a little more time for me to get [my slider] back,” Vasquez said. “But I didn’t feel anything wrong. I could throw hard and soft. It felt normal. I just have to work on being more consistent.”

 

NJ News

Chris Christie, on vacation, attends Mets’ victory over Braves at Tradition Field

The Mets announced that 7,678 people attended Sunday’s game at Tradition Field, the largest crowd in the history of the 26-year-old stadium. Among the crowd was Gov. Chris Christie — along with his sons Andrew and Patrick — who sat in Fred Wilpon’s box behind home plate, ate popcorn and chatted with the Mets owner during an 8-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

After the game, the Christie contingent and Wilpon visited the Mets clubhouse, where they spoke with David Wright, the third baseman who went 0-3 Sunday in his second spring training start, and manager Terry Collins.

Christie is an outspoken Mets fan, even through the club’s rough patch in recent years. Last year Christie proclaimed that the “Mets stink.”

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