Medlen preparing to face hitters in Arizona

Medlen preparing to face hitters in Arizona

KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Kris Medlen, a popular signing among Royals fans last winter, is inching closer in his comeback bid from his second Tommy John surgery.

Medlen told MLB.com that he will be heading to Surprise, Ariz., on Monday to begin throwing against hitters. If all goes well, he could start a 30-day rehab assignment sometime in May.

Medlen is excited about the next phase of his comeback. Since Spring Training ended, he has remained with the big league club and continued his throwing and bullpen schedules.

"I have really enjoyed staying here and getting to know my teammates a little more," Medlen said. "I was really happy they did it that way. It's been great with all the winning, too.

"But now it's time to get going. I'm pumped. I'm going to face live hitters and I don't think I'll be able to get the smile off my face. Even if I give up a homer, I might smile. ... Just a little, though."

The Royals signed Medlen to a two-year, $8.5 million deal during the offseason.

He previously underwent Tommy John surgeries in 2010 and 2014, while with the Braves, and he was sensational in 2012, posting a 10-1 record and a 1.57 ERA in 50 games, 12 of them starts.

He had a 3.11 ERA in 2013, in 31 games started.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.