ATLANTA -- While the Braves continue to look for an external option to upgrade their starting pitching, manager Fredi Gonzalez said right-hander Kris Medlen will move from the bullpen to the rotation and start Tuesday against the Marlins if no trade is made.
Medlen has appeared in 38 games as a reliever this season and has not started a game in the Major Leagues since 2010. Medlen has often been considered an option to join the Braves' rotation this year. He was in the mix in Spring Training and was sent to the Minor Leagues in June with the purpose of building up his endurance so he could join the rotation.
Each time, however, Medlen was sent back to the bullpen. But with veteran Jair Jurrjens struggling and rookie Randall Delgado back in Triple-A, the Braves are set to give Medlen his first shot at the starting rotation since he had Tommy John surgery in August 2010.
Medlen said he is excited, but cautious about the opportunity to be a starter.
"I'm really excited, don't get me wrong, but a lot of things can change," Medlen said. "I know they're looking for a veteran dude or whatever. But I'm more than willing to try it out."
Medlen has been an important piece of the Braves' bullpen this season and has excelled in his role. In 54 1/3 innings, he has a 2.48 ERA and a 1.086 WHIP.
Medlen has made 18 starts in the Major Leagues. As a starter, he is 6-2 with a 4.31 ERA. In 102 1/3 innings, Medlen has struck out 81 batters and walked 27.
Though he has been extended once already this season and threw three innings Wednesday, it will still take a few starts before Medlen is ready for a typical starter's workload. Gonzalez said he will likely be limited to 65-75 pitches Tuesday.
After moving between the bullpen and rotation multiple times in his career, Medlen said getting to the point where he can shoulder a starter's workload is the hardest part of the transition.
"It's just a matter of getting my pitch count up and all that, I think that's the biggest hurdle for me," Medlen said. "Especially in August, in Atlanta, getting up to 100 pitches."
As Medlen joins the rotation, Gonzalez said Jurrjens will move to the bullpen and be used in long relief. He said Jurrjens took the reassignment well.
"He was fine," Gonzalez said. "I didn't expect him to be any different."
Simmons ready to have pinkie cast removed
ATLANTA -- Shortstop Andrelton Simmons said his right pinkie, which was broken sliding into second base July 8 against the Phillies, is healing as expected and hopes to have his cast removed next Friday.
Simmons has been getting progressively smaller casts in the three weeks since the injury and was fitted with another new one when he visited the doctor Friday. When Simmons will be able to return to action, however, still isn't known. Simmons said he doesn't expect to need much rehab once his final cast comes off, but he hasn't been told what to expect.
"Hopefully I don't have to do too much rehab to start playing," Simmons said. "I don't know how many days that's going to take, but hopefully it's not that bad."
Simmons said he has done a lot of running and leg exercises since the injury. He said he has tried to be patient as his pinkie heals, but he is nearing his breaking point.
"I've done my best not to do too much," Simmons said. "But I'm getting to my limit where I'm about to take this off myself."
In 33 games since being called up at the beginning of June, Simmons is hitting .296 with a .452 slugging percentage.
Braves outfielder Matt Diaz, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a right thumb contusion, had his thumb placed in a cast. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Diaz will wear the cast for three or four days, which is meant to isolate the thumb and prevent unnecessary movement.
Right-hander Peter Moylan suffered a setback this week after undergoing surgery last September to repair a torn right rotator cuff. Moylan was placed on the seven-day disabled list at Triple-A Gwinnett with shoulder tendinitis.
Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.