Ever so slowly, the KC Royals are starting to get their players closer to returning. The latest player inching closer to a return in Kris Medlen, a bit of a reclamation project that the Royals signed to a two year contract last offseason.
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Coming off of his second Tommy John surgery, we all knew it would take some time for Medlen to make his Royals debut. However, he is moving closer to that point, as Medlen is set to pitch in a simulated game on Thursday. He will join with Danny Duffy in that simulated game, as the Royals are getting a slight bit closer to having their pitching staff healthy and ready to contribute.
If everything goes according to plan, Medlen will head back to extended Spring Training and work to build his arm up to around 70 pitches before going on a rehab assignment. For now though, Medlen feels that he is on the right track.
"“The fastball is coming out pretty good,” Medlen said. “I don’t throw the ball as hard as most of the guys in here, but I attack the zone with the fastball. My changeup is, or was, my best pitch. And my curveball feels just as good as it used to.”"
The idea that Kris Medlen could even be close to the same pitcher he was prior to his second Tommy John surgery would be quite the coup for the KC Royals. Even if he may not join the Royals as a starter this season, having another high quality arm int he bullpen could be a tremendous boost, further strengthening the biggest advantage the Royals have.
In fact, the potential return of Medlen to the bullpen could help the Royals in other aspects as well. There are quite a lot of teams that are looking for bullpen help, and with the Royals potentially in need of a starting pitcher or another bat, they may be able to part with their possible surplus of relievers to bring in that needed piece.
The eventual return of Kris Medlen will set up a very interesting domino effect on the rest of the pitching staff, and potentially the rest of the KC Royals roster. With Medlen pitching in that simulated game tomorrow, decision time is creeping ever closer.