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Medlen goes from jack-of-all-trades to Braves ace

Pitcher Kris Medlen left the game early with an injury.

Pitcher Kris Medlen left the game early with an injury.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- When Kris Medlen reported to spring training last year, the Atlanta Braves looked at him as a handy guy to have around, someone who could fill in wherever they needed.

No one expected him to become an ace.

Medlen still seems a bit uncomfortable with the title, figuring a more experienced teammate such as Tim Hudson is better suited for the role. But the Braves appear to be setting things up for the 27-year-old Medlen to be their opening-day starter -- an honor he certainly earned with the way he pitched in 2011.

After starting the season in the bullpen, the fidgety right-hander moved into the rotation and was nearly unbeatable. He went 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA, a major reason the Braves earned a wild-card spot in the playoffs.


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