MLBits: Sale's MRI, Miller Shut Down, Foreign Substance Discipline, Yankees Did Not Reach Out on Matz, More

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MLBits: Sale’s MRI, Miller Shut Down, Foreign Substance Discipline, Yankees Did Not Reach Out on Matz, More

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs love baseball so much they played two games yesterday. And although they dropped the late night affair to the A’s, they scored more runs (11) than they allowed (9) across both outings. It’s all about run differential, right?

Baseball news.

  • Chris Sale was experiencing some soreness in his elbow after his live bullpen session yesterday and was forced to undergo an MRI, the results of which were sent to … duh DUH DUH! Dr. James Andrews. For most around baseball, just hearing that name is enough to keep you up at night (he specializes in Tommy John surgery for most of baseball’s top pitchers), but take note that Sale actually saw Dr. Andrews late last season after some soreness, so it’s likely to be at least in small part for the benefit of familiarity, as much as it is his speciality.
  • Not that it’ll help Red Sox fans sleep at night:

https://twitter.com/MATrueblood/status/1234871116679782402?s=20

  • It seems like we’re talking about a different Cardinal injury every other day this spring, and today’s no exception. Let’s start with Andrew Miller, because it’s a pretty unusual case. Yesterday after warming up to throw in the Cardinals 6-1 win over the Twins, Miller was shut down because “he couldn’t get a feel for the baseball.” But while that sounds innocuous enough (especially because it’s a bit of a baseball-ism for pitchers), it may be a bit more serious than that: “It’s the best and easiest way I can explain it,” Manager Mike Shildt said. “So we’ll evaluate it moving forward. Nothing physical as far as health, or arm. Just having trouble feeling the baseball. … I think not feeling the sensation of the baseball itself.” Strange, right? I’m not going to play doctor, other than to say not feeling the baseball is obviously different than not having a feel for your pitches. Miller is in the second year of a $25M deal with a team option for 2021.
  • One of the newest members of the Cardinals pitching staff, Kwang-Hyun Kim did not make his scheduled start yesterday either thanks to some mild groin soreness, but the Cardinals are hopeful he can start Thursday, instead: “It’s very mild,” Shildt said. “To say it’s nothing wouldn’t be accurate, because it’s something. But we moved KK back, and the training staff found it proactively, which I applaud. Just want to make complete sure that everything is fine.”
  • On a tangent, the Cardinals have apparently stacked up on left-handed pitchers over the past year or so and “could wedge as many as four lefties into their bullpen,” which seems crazy to me in a new era of batter minimums, but we’ll see, I guess. The thinking, for what it’s worth, is that the Cubs (94 wRC+, 20th), Reds (88 wRC+, 24th), and Pirates (77 wRC+, 30th) were all especially bad against left-handed pitching last season … but again, this is a new era.
  • At ESPN, Jeff Passan gets into 20 questions facing baseball right now, but among the most interesting is the discussion surrounding what the league intends to do about foreign substances on baseballs. Used by an estimated 70% of big league pitchers – according to Trevor Bauer (though that is arguably a light estimate) – certain substances on a ball like pine tar can improve spin rate, which we know has an effect on efficiency and productivity. But while MLB wants to get more serious about “cheating,” because remember, that is against the rules, there are so many complications. For one, enforcing this would require managers to ask umpires to check opposing players despite the fact that his own players are probably doing the same thing at the same time. For another, cracking down on cheating by suspending players immediately after you did NOT suspend a single Astros player is a little difficult to sell. So if enforcement and discipline have issues … what do they do? Passan has more.
  • I had a little fun on Twitter and enlisted the masses to help me fill out the all-time “Guys who were totally gonna be Cubs, but then weren’t” lineup. Click through to Twitter to follow the thread. It’s a fun rabbit hole.

  • Conflicting reports about trade interest? What is this, December? The Yanks:

  • At first we speculated the Yankees would come calling (someone) for a starting pitcher, which the Yankees denied. Then news broke that they had actually reached out to the Mets on lefty Steven Matz. And now Brian Cashman says “we have not talked to anybody.” OK. Whatever. Moving on for now …
  • That’s not the extent of the Yankees present problems, however, as it seems they’ll open the season without Giancarlo Stanton (for sure) and Aaron Judge (probably). Neither is expected to be out for long, but that’s still a lot of high profile injuries to start the year. Woof.
  • Yasiel Puig is still a free agent and according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels have “considered” signing him, but “not too seriously.” Remember, it wasn’t too long ago that the Angels had agreed to trade for Joc Pederson, so they’re at least plausibly in the market for another outfielder (not that those two are interchangeable). Then again, when you have Mike Trout in center field and Jo Adell on his way, how badly do you really need an outfielder? Then again AGAIN, the Angels just spent a ton of money on Anthony Rendon (and brought in Joe Maddon) and are going to be all in on this season, so it might not be best to leave things up to chance.
  • I’m being forced to do things against my will. Please send help:



Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami