Joel Hanrahan to begin season on disabled list

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Traded to Pittsburgh along with Lastings Milledge in late June, Joel Hanrahan tossed 31.1 innings with a 1.71 ERA down the stretch and was slated to be the Pirates’ primary setup man this year. Unfortunately the team announced today that he’s expected to begin the season on the disabled list with a strained elbow.
He’s been shut down and is scheduled to be examined next week by Dr. James Andrews, which is often a precursor for even worse news. Hanrahan revealed that his second-half success with the Pirates came despite pitching through frequent elbow discomfort, which apparently resumed last month during a mini-camp mound session.
Even with his strong second half the 28-year-old Hanrahan has a 4.32 ERA and 167/78 K/BB ratio in 150 career innings as a reliever, which is certainly nothing special. However, the Pirates’ lack of quality late-inning options figured to force him into a setup role almost by default. Aside from Octavio Dotel at closer the rest of the bullpen is pretty wide open and the Pirates are long on middle relief-caliber arms.

Kris Bryant wants to be Cubs’ player rep, vows to “fight” for next collective bargaining agreement

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Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.

While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”

As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”

It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.