While he made a successful return to Atlanta's rotation on Tuesday, it's unknown if Kris Medlen will remain there beyond the middle of this month.
For now, the right-hander is embracing his new role and will try to help the Braves in the NL East race with another strong outing Sunday against the MLB-worst Houston Astros, who are coming off a rare victory.Following Tommy John surgery in 2011, Medlen was expected to play a significant role in Atlanta's bullpen but injuries necessitated his move to the rotation. He made his first start since Aug. 4, 2010, on Tuesday against Miami but had that outing cut short by rain.Medlen (2-1, 2.43 ERA) still came away with a win in a 7-1 victory after allowing a solo homer, three singles and one walk over five innings."He's here to help this team win," catcher Brian McCann told the team's official website. "That performance right there, he started right where he left off in 2010. He was one of our best starters in 2010 before he got hurt. He picked up tonight and was right there again."Medlen, though, might only get two more starts with Tommy Hanson eligible to come off the disabled list Aug. 15."My career, I've taken it a day at a time and every day it has been different," Medlen told the team's website. "The fact that I get another start is good for me and I'm happy about it."The right-hander will try to help his team bounce back from Saturday's 3-2 defeat to the Astros (36-72). Justin Maxwell had a career-high four hits, including a pair of home runs, during his team's fourth victory in 33 games.The win was also Houston's second in 25 road games and snapped a six-game skid at Turner Field."Any win is a lift," Maxwell said. "We've been struggling all year, but we haven't given up at all. We know we're not in a good situation right now, but if we keep playing hard, it's going to get better for us in the future."Bud Norris (5-8, 5.02) will try to keep Atlanta (61-46) from cutting into its three-game NL East deficit while leading his team to back-to-back victories for the first time since June 26-27. The right-hander is also seeking his first win since May 21.Norris is 0-7 with a 7.10 ERA in his 10 starts since that victory over the Chicago Cubs but has allowed a combined four runs over his last two outings. He gave up three over six-plus innings Monday in Milwaukee, but the Astros' bullpen faltered in an 8-7 defeat."Bud did a good job," manager Brad Mills said. "He pitched really well. He threw the ball really well."Norris is 0-1 with an 8.74 ERA in two career starts against Atlanta with the most recent coming Aug. 9, 2010.Medlen is making his first start versus Houston.