Knee injury, 6.81 ERA get Washburn skipped

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Asked yesterday about reports that he’s been pitching through a knee injury, Jarrod Washburn said: “It’s not new news. It’s been bothering me for three or four months.” Of course, three or four months ago Washburn was pitching well in Seattle and now he’s sporting a 6.81 ERA in six starts with Detroit.
This afternoon manager Jim Leyland announced that the Tigers will skip Washburn’s next scheduled turn in the rotation, with Armando Galarraga returning from Triple-A to take his place Saturday against the Rays. For now the plan is for Washburn to take a week off and then rejoin the rotation on September 10 against the Royals.
“I got skipped once earlier this year in Seattle and it helped quiet it down a little bit so the pain level was tolerable,” Washburn said. “So we figured it was worth another try. Any doctor that’s seen it told me there’s probably some cartilage damage in there, so it’s probably not going to go away.”
Galarraga was a mess prior to his demotion, going 6-10 with a 5.05 ERA in 24 starts thanks largely to the least-effective fastball in the league. Fortunately for the Tigers they have a 4.5-game lead in baseball’s worst division and, unless the Twins turn things around in a hurry, they can focus on getting Washburn as healthy as possible for the playoffs.

Mets pitcher Jason Vargas to have surgery on his non-throwing hand

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Yesterday the Mets announced that lefty Jason Vargas sustained a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand as the result of a comebacker during a spring training start. This morning they announced that Vargas will have surgery, which should cause him to miss the first week or so of the season.

Vargas will have the surgery tomorrow. Given that it’s on his non-throwing hand, he won’t miss much time — just a week or so of action, with another few days to get back up to speed afterward. He actually threw a bullpen session this morning. The issue is that he can’t catch a ball right now.

Vargas, 35, signed a two-year, $16 million pact with the Mets last month. With him missing a couple of starts, the Mets should break camp with both Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler in the rotation. The two had been fighting for the final spot.