Moylan happy Medlen made his MLB return

Moylan happy Medlen made his MLB return

ATLANTA -- Though they are separated by distance, Peter Moylan and Kris Medlen have continued to savor their strong friendship, which was enriched as they spent last summer and most of this past offseason pushing each other toward their current satisfaction.

When Moylan and Medlen both underwent a second Tommy John elbow surgery two weeks apart last year, their respective playing careers were suddenly in jeopardy. But neither allowed this possibility to enter their minds as they endured a grueling rehab process together. Instead, the former Braves teammates remained committed to doing whatever necessary to get themselves back where they are now -- pitching at the Major League level.

"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.