02/24/12 5:05 PM EST
Medlen accepting of role in Braves' bullpen
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
But as Medlen prepares for the upcoming season, he understands that he will likely begin the year in the bullpen.
"I think I'm more of a security blanket in case 14 injuries [to starting pitchers] happen," Medlen said. "I keep getting asked what I want to do, and you obviously know the answer. But I know my role, which is to be a bullpen guy or a backup starter. I've accepted it and whatever. I'm ready to play baseball. That's pretty much it."
Medlen proved effective while going 5-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 14 starts during the 2010 season. His impressive campaign ended in early August that year, when he blew out his elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery. He returned last year in time to make two relief appearances during the regular season's final week.
With the Braves already possessing a surplus of starting pitching, Medlen could bring even more value with the versatility that he brings to the bullpen. The dependable 26-year-old right-hander has the ability to handle any late-inning role. His presence could lessen the strain placed on primary setup men Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty.
"Everything has worked out for me in my career," Medlen said. "So I have no complaints or rights to say I shouldn't be doing this or anything like that. I'm going to keep busting my tail. That has gotten me to where I am now."
Wilson to miss time with right calf strain
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Braves will likely have to go through the first two weeks of the season without the guy they signed to help guide Tyler Pastornicky through his earliest days as a Major Leaguer.
Jack Wilson will be sidelined four to six weeks with a right calf strain he suffered while working out with Pastornicky in California on Tuesday. The veteran infielder was being supported by crutches when he reported to Spring Training on Friday.
"It's one of those things that you need to make sure it's gone before you come back," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "If you try to come back too early, it can nag you for a long time."
Wilson's injury opens the door for Josh Wilson or Drew Sutton, a pair of non-roster infielders, to gain a spot on the Opening Day roster. Both have Major League experience and the versatility to play each of the infield positions.
"We've got plenty of candidates here in camp to do that job," Gonzalez said.
Wilson suffered the injury while running sprints at his California home. He was working out with Pastornicky, who had traveled to his home to work out for five days before the start of Spring Training.
"It's good that it's at this point in time, and not a point where I would miss too many games in the season," Wilson said.
Wilson spent the final month of the 2011 season with the Braves and re-signed with the club in January with the understanding that he would serve as a mentor for Pastornicky, who is slated to make his Major League debut as the starting shortstop against the Mets on Opening Day.
Minor explains quote about 'trade' request
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Left-hander Mike Minor entered the Braves' clubhouse early Friday morning and made manager Fredi Gonzalez and his teammates did not think he was attempting to give the team an ultimatum when he was talking to a reporter from The Atlanta-Journal Constitution on Thursday.
"I was trying to say I think this is the year I can make the team out of Spring Training and stay there," Minor said. "If I can't, and I keep going back to Triple-A this year and then next year, then I'd hope the Braves would trade me."
Minor was quoted in the AJC as saying, "If they don't have room for me here, then there's no reason they shouldn't trade me or just do something with me."
Minor regretted using the word "trade" and wishes he would have better explained that he simply believes he will have had plenty of opportunities to prove himself by the time next year arrives. The left-hander will turn 25 in December, and he is confident he can find a spot in the Majors if the pitching-rich Braves are not able to provide him one.
Many of Minor's teammates liked that he was expressing this kind of confidence in himself.
"I don't want to be in Gwinnett my whole career," Minor said. "I know I'm only 24 and that is not old. But when I turn 25 or 26 next year, if I'm still going up and down [between Atlanta and Gwinnett], then I would think they would do something."
Minor, the seventh overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, made great improvements last year and posted a 3.83 ERA in his final nine big league starts. With Tim Hudson likely to be sidelined through at least the end of April, the young southpaw is projected to begin this year in the fourth spot of the rotation.
Arodys Vizcaino showed off his plus fastball and curveball while facing Brian McCann during live batting practice on Friday. Vizcaino has also been working to become more comfortable with his changeup.
Braves backup catcher David Ross said Randall Delgado has been the most impressive pitcher he has caught during the early days of camp. Delgado is fighting to win the final spot in the starting rotation.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez welcomed good friend Stan Van Gundy, the Orlando Magic head coach, to camp to watch Friday's workout.
The Braves will stage their first full-squad workout Saturday afternoon. Workouts on Saturday and Sunday begin at 1 p.m. ET, because players and coaches will be undergoing physicals during the morning hours.
Tommy Hanson reported that he felt good on Friday and was cleared to ride a stationary bike for 10 minutes. Hanson, who suffered a Grade 1 concussion in a one-car accident on Monday, could return to the field for workouts next Monday.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.