"It helped that we're really good mates," said Moylan, who befriended Medlen while they played together with the 2009 Braves. "When you look back at it, it was just uncanny that we would blow out a week apart, have surgery two weeks apart and then be on the same schedule all the way through. But it helped me out a lot to have someone to hold you accountable every day."
After declining an offer from the Braves that would have provided $5.8 million this year and a lesser guarantee in 2016, Medlen accepted the Royals' offer -- a two-year, $8.5 million deal that includes a $10 million option for 2017. Moylan, whose career has also been detoured by surgical procedures on his back and shoulder, returned to the Braves with a Minor League deal that originally was aimed toward giving him a chance to serve as player/coach with Rookie Level Danville this year.
Medlen was promoted to the Major League level after the All-Star break as a member of Kansas City's bullpen and on Monday night, he completed six solid innings while making his first start since he took the mound for Atlanta in Game 1 of the National League Division Series in 2013. Moylan spent most of this summer with Triple-A Gwinnett and got his call to return to the Majors as a member of Atlanta's bullpen on Aug. 16.
Both returned to the Majors approximately 16 months after undergoing the second Tommy John procedure.
"We talk to each other once a week at least," Moylan said. "I called him yesterday just before the start to wish him good luck. He called me when he heard that I got called up. When he first got called up and then I got called up, we got a little choked up. All of our text messages said something like, 'I couldn't have done this without you.'"
Moylan and Medlen have already reaped the benefits of those countless early-morning workout and rehab sessions they endured together over the past year in suburban Atlanta. But neither of these determined pitchers limited the goal to simply returning to the Majors after undergoing the major elbow surgery for a second time.
"It's a really cool thing to see how it has all played out," Moylan said. "Obviously there was more of a doubt about whether I was going to come back. But there is always a doubt when you go under the knife for the second time in the same place."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.