Royals activate Medlen, add him to bullpen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Royals have reinstated Kris Medlen from the disabled list, putting the right-handed pitcher back in the majors for the first time since his second Tommy John surgery early last year.

The Royals made the move before Monday night’s game against Pittsburgh.

Medlen will begin in the Royals’ bullpen, although that could change later in the season. Kansas City signed him to a two-year contract in December.

Medlen went 10-1 as a reliever and starter for Atlanta in 2012, then went 15-12 while making 31 starts in 2013. He had elbow surgery in March 2014 and missed the whole season.

”He’s worked so hard to get back from the second Tommy John surgery and the rehab,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”It took about a year and a half to get through it. He provides depth down there. He’s a really good big league pitcher.

”The year that he had his rookie year in the big leagues was phenomenal. He’s got what we call pitch-ability. He commands the baseball well. He changes speeds extremely well. He’s a nice guy to have down in the `pen right now,” he said.

Yost said he would not use the 29-year-old Medlen on back-to-back days as a reliever.

With left-hander Jason Vargas coming off the disabled list Tuesday and scheduled to start against the Pirates, Yost said the Royals have seven starters. Medlen went 1-1 with a 3.546 ERA in six rehab starts with Triple-A Omaha and Double-A Northwest Arkansas and is stretched out to throw 100 pitches.

To make roster space for Medlen, the Royals optioned right-hander Yohan Pino to Omaha.