Pedro Martinez began Thursday’s start versus San Francisco by serving up a leadoff homer to light-hitting Eugenio Velez. And then he hurled seven scoreless innings to out-duel Tim Lincecum, striking out nine, walking none, and giving up just four more hits. It wasn’t quite vintage Pedro, but he was damn close while dropping his ERA to 3.52 ERA and improving to 3-0 with a 23/3 K/BB ratio in 23 innings.
Lincecum was no slouch himself, racking up 11 strikeouts while surrendering just two runs on four hits and one walk, but the story of the night was Pedro. San Francisco’s lineup is hardly imposing, but he set down 13 straight batters at one point, needed just 87 pitches to record 21 outs, and has now won all three of his starts that haven’t been shortened by rain, beating the Giants, Mets, and Cubs on the road.
While the Phillies improve to 38-17 in their last 55 games, here are some other notes from around baseball …
* Colorado received some good news on Huston Street when an MRI exam revealed no structural damage in his injured biceps Thursday. Street remains unavailable for now, but barring a setback may be able to resume closing at some point next week. In the meantime, Franklin Morales will handle ninth-inning duties for the Rockies and is a must pickup in all formats.
* Jarrod Washburn revealed earlier this week that he’s been pitching through a knee injury for several months now, so manager Jim Leyland has decided to skip his next turn in the rotation after he posted a 6.81 ERA in six starts since being traded to the Tigers. Armando Galarraga is back up from Triple-A to fill in and doesn’t figure to be any better, but luckily Detroit has a nice cushion is the horrendous AL Central.
* Wade Davis will make his MLB debut Sunday against Detroit and the 24-year-old is someone to keep tabs on for 2010. Overshadowed somewhat by David Price of late, Davis remains one of baseball’s better MLB-ready pitching prospects after posting a 3.40 ERA and 140/60 K/BB ratio in 158.2 innings at Triple-A. He has a low-90s heat, good secondary stuff, and No. 2 starter upside. Worth an AL-only flier for now.
* I’ve become more or less addicted to Twitter in just a month and have been posting tons of stuff on there nearly every day, so if you’re interested in my various ramblings with some baseball-related stuff sprinkled in check out @aarongleeman.
AL Quick Hits: Jorge Posada went 4-for-5 and knocked in four runs Thursday as the Yankees roughed up Ricky Romero … Nate Robertson will stick in Detroit’s rotation after tossing six shutout innings Thursday … B.J. Upton left Thursday’s game with an ugly-looking ankle injury, but X-rays were negative … Mariano Rivera (groin) may be available as soon as Friday if his afternoon bullpen session goes smoothly … Josh Hamilton has been diagnosed with a pinched nerve in his neck … Chris Perez had three strikeouts over two perfect innings Thursday, giving him 19.2 straight scoreless frames … Because of workload issues Toronto has shut down Marc Rzepcynski for the remainder of the year … Tim Wakefield (back) threw a 25-pitch mound session Thursday in preparation for Saturday’s scheduled start … Carlos Torres shut out the Cubs for seven innings Thursday to pick up his first MLB win … Clay Buchholz won his third straight game and turned in his sixth Quality Start in seven tries Thursday.
NL Quick Hits: Derrek Lee has left the Cubs for the birth of his second child, so Jake Fox filled in at first base Thursday … Hanley Ramirez was out of the lineup Thursday with an injured hamstring that he classified as just 10 percent healthy … John Smoltz allowed four runs in six innings Thursday, but looked solid with six strikeouts versus zero walks … Alcides Escobar started at shortstop Thursday after sitting out for two games in favor of J.J. Hardy … Fresh off the disabled list, Dave Bush (triceps) said Thursday that he’s “still not feeling quite right” … Carlos Beltran (knee) played five innings of center field in Thursday’s rehab game at Single-A and is aiming to return next week … Nick Johnson came off the shelf Thursday after missing 18 days with a hamstring injury … Justin Upton was limited to pinch-hitting duties Thursday thanks to issues with his contact lenses and delivered a double off the bench.
Josh Norris of Baseball America reports that Minor League Baseball has established a political action committee to continue fighting against a lawsuit brought by a group of former minor league players seeking increased wages and back pay.
You may recall that, earlier this year, two members of Congress — Republican Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Democrat Cheri Bustos of Illinois — introduced H.R. 5580 in the House of Representatives. Also known as the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” H.R. 5580 sought to change language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. In doing so, minor leaguers wouldn’t have been covered under a law that protects workers who are paid hourly. Minor League Baseball publicly endorsed the bill. Bustos withdrew her support after receiving widespread criticism.
The whole thing started when Sergio Miranda filed a lawsuit in 2014, accusing Major League Baseball teams of colluding to eliminate competition. The lawsuit challenged the reserve clause, which binds minor leaguers into contracts with their teams for seven years. That suit was dismissed in September 2015. However, another lawsuit was filed in October last year — known as Senne vs. the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball — alleging that minor leaguers were victims of violations of state and federal minimum wage laws. Senne et. al. suffered a setback this summer when U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed class certification. That essentially meant that the players could not file a class-action lawsuit. As a result, the players’ legal team led by Garrett Broshuis amended their case to only include players who play in one league for an entire season. As Norris notes, that means that the included players’ experiences are uniform enough for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit.
So that’s why Minor League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC). A PAC, for the unfamiliar, is an organization created with the intent of raising money to defeat a particular candidate, legislation, or ballot initiative. In other words, they’re getting serious and want Capitol Hill’s help.
Minor League Baseball president Stan Brand said, “Because of procedurally what has happened in the Congress and the difficulties in getting legislation, we’ve got to adjust to that. We were lucky. We had the ability because of the depth of the relationships and involvement in the communities to not have to worry about that. And now we do, I think. The PAC . . . gives us another tool to re-enforce who we are and why we’re important.”
Norris mentions in his column that Phillies minor league outfielder Dylan Cozens received the Joe Baumann Award for leading the minors with 40 home runs. That came with an $8,000 prize. Cozens said that the prize was more than he made all season. The minor league regular season spanned from April 7 to September 5, about six months. Athletes aren’t paid in the other six months which includes offseason training and spring training. They are also not paid for participating in instructional leagues and the Arizona Fall League. Minor leaguers lack union representation, which is why their fight for fair pay has been such an uphill battle.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the White Sox and Nationals are making “strong progress” on a trade involving ace Chris Sale. Most reports coming out on Monday night suggest that a deal isn’t likely to be consummated until Tuesday at the earliest.
Sale, 27, has pitched in the majors over parts of seven seasons. He owns a career 74-50 record with a 3.00 ERA and a 1,244/260 K/BB ratio in 1,110 innings. The lefty will earn $12 million in 2017, then has a club option for 2018 worth $12.5 million with a $1 million buyout as well as a 2019 club option worth $13.5 million with a $1 million buyout. Relative to what he would earn if he were a free agent today, Sale’s remaining salary is a bargain.
The Nationals would likely have to part with several of their top prospects. MLB Pipeline lists pitcher Lucas Giolito, outfielder Victor Robles, and pitcher Reynoldo Lopez in the club’s top-three.
Adding Sale would arguably give the Nationals claim to the best starting rotation in baseball as he would join 2016 NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.
There are other teams in the mix for Sale. The Red Sox and Astros have also talked with the White Sox about the lefty’s services.