The Atlanta Braves are on one of the worst streaks in all of baseball this season. They have lost eight straight games after winning 11-of-16 games and are suddenly tied with the Philadelphia Phillies for last place in the National League East.
Part of the issue in recent weeks with the Braves has been injury. Chipper Jones landed on the disabled list again, while Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman have been missing time with various ailments. With a thin bench due to these injuries, the Braves have called up outfielder, Jose Constanza. To make room for Constanza, the team has demoted relief pitcher Kris Medlen to the minor leagues.
Constanza was hitting .288 with five doubles, four triples, 15 RBIs and eight stolen bases with Triple-A Gwinnett. A year ago, he made a major splash in Atlanta and even replaced Jason Heyward in the lineup late in the season. He hit .303 with two home runs, 10 RBIs and seven stolen bases with Atlanta last season and the team is hoping he can help keep them above water for the time being until they get healthy.
The demotion of Medlen isn't because of performance, but more so as a safety valve. He has been pitching out of the bullpen and hasn't gone more than three innings in a game this season and hasn't pitched five innings in a game since July 30, 2010. With Gwinnett, he will be able to stretch his arm out so he can replace Mike Minor in the Atlanta rotation at some point. Minor has been one of the worst starters in all of baseball this season and if it weren't for his strikeouts, he would have no great stat.
The Atlanta bullpen is solid as it is and losing Medlen will hurt a bit at first, but in the long run, it is the best thing for the team to have Medlen in the rotation, especially with Minor getting roughed up every fifth day.
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Hobson Lopes has been a life-long Atlanta Braves fan, thanks to TBS, and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.