PORT ST. LUCIE — Right-hander Kris Medlen, the Braves' expected opening day starter, left in the fourth inning of his outing against the Mets on Sunday with a strained forearm.
While facing Matt Clark with two outs, Medlen threw an offspeed pitch, grabbed his right elbow and turned his back to home plate. He then removed himself from the game.
Medlen was examined by Mets physician Struan Coleman and diagnosed with a right forearm strain pending an evaluation at the Braves' complex today.
Medlen, 28, was 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA in 197 innings last season for the NL East champions. He had Tommy John elbow surgery in 2010.
"Obviously, any time a pitcher walks off the mound and meets you at the foul line, you worry about that stuff," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But after everything kind of settled down, we're optimistic it's nothing really major."
Gonzalez said he talked with Medlen briefly during the pitching change and again inside the clubhouse afterward.
"He wasn't in good spirits. But after he got settled down a little bit and the trainers looked at him, I thought he was in better spirits," Gonzalez said.
Medlen did not speak with reporters but relayed a message that he will be available Tuesday in Orlando.
Catcher Evan Gattis said Medlen had good stuff through three innings.
"He was executing pitches, and the next thing you know — I don't know what he grabbed — but I knew it was his arm. It's never a good sign, never a good feeling, to be out there and see a pitcher walk off the mound like that," Gattis said.
CARDS SIGN CUBAN: The Cardinals signed Cuban free agent shortstop Aledmys Diaz to a major-league contract, and he's expected to report to spring training today. St. Louis was among a number of teams that held private workouts for the right-handed hitting Diaz, 23, who is likely to open the season in the high minors. The deal is believed to be for $15 million to $20 million for four years. Also, Cardinals centerfielder Peter Bourjos returned to the starting lineup after sitting out for seven days with right hamstring tightness.
AUSTRALIA SERIES: Left-handers Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu will be the Dodgers' starting pitchers in their two-game season-opening series in Sydney, Australia, against the Diamondbacks. The games are March 22-23 at Sydney Cricket Ground.
METS: Left-hander Jon Niese was cleared to make his spring training debut Tuesday. Niese has been sidelined since the end of February with soreness in his pitching shoulder.
REDS: Right-hander Mat Latos, who had minor surgery in February to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, might be ready to pitch during the first week of the regular season, manager Bryan Price said.
ROCKIES: Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa was named the opening day starter.