JUPITER, Fla. — Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was more surprised than concerned after Kris Medlen was hit by two line drives Wednesday night.
Medlen pitched 42/3 scoreless innings, then left the Braves’ 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins when he was hit by a line drive for the second time.
“I’m surprised the balls hit him because usually he makes those plays. He’s that good of an athlete,” Gonzalez said. “I think we dodged a bullet with him getting hit.”
Rob Brantly lined a single off Medlen’s left shoe with one out in the fourth, and Casey Kotchman hit the right-hander’s pitching arm in the fifth. Medlen was replaced for precautionary reasons by Jonny Venters.
“It’s tightening up a tad bit, but I don’t anticipate any changes in scheduling,” said Medlen, who was hit on the back of his triceps. “It feels fine. Ready to go for next time.”
Medlen struck out three and 33 of his 49 pitches were strikes. The balls off Medlen were the Marlins’ only hits.
“He was really sharp,” Gonzalez said.
Miami’s Chris Valaika led off the third by hitting a long fly to left-center – much closer to center – where left fielder Justin Upton tracked it down on the warning track while his brother, center fielder B.J. Upton, watched.
“B.J. never saw it off the bat,” Gonzalez said. “I told Justin, in front of B.J., ‘We didn’t trade for you to play center field.’ ”
Freddie Freeman homered off Nathan Eovaldi leading off the second, his third home run of spring training. Chris Johnson added a tiebreaking single against Jonathan Albaladejo with two outs in the ninth.
Eovaldi gave up three hits and struck out four in five innings.
“Playing under the lights is just a different atmosphere,” Eovaldi said. “We’re so used to playing under the lights, so being able to get out and get a start out there was nice. It was fun.”
Venters forced in a run in the sixth when he walked four straight batters.
B.J. Upton had a single and double in three at-bats for the Braves and is batting .429 (18 for 42).
NOTES: Miami used the designated hitter; Atlanta did not. … The Marlins reassigned RHP Jose Fernandez and OF Jake Marisnick to minor league camp. RHP Chris Hatcher was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans (Pacific Coast League). Fernandez, Miami’s top prospect, is expected to start the season at Double-A. “He was very impressive. His day will come,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. … Gonzalez said Matt Kennelly probably won’t be able to catch today after developing a blood blister on a right-hand finger when he was hit by a pitch while attempting to bunt. … Former NFL coach Bill Parcells attended the game and stood near the batting cage while each team took batting practice. “He said he saw me play Double-A at Portland,” Redmond said. … Marlins 1B Joe Mahoney (oblique) was sidelined and in Redmond’s words, “unable to do anything.” Redmond said Mahoney would be evaluated again Thursday.