C.J. Wilson thrives in first start since 2005

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Despite a 3.75 ERA, 51 saves, and 231 strikeouts in 233 innings as a reliever over the past four seasons C.J. Wilson campaigned for a spot in the Rangers’ rotation this spring, won the third-starter gig, and tossed seven shutout innings Thursday in his first start since way back in August of 2005.
Wilson was very impressive against the Blue Jays with nine strikeouts versus just five hits and two walks, but Frank Francisco blew his win by serving up a homer to the red hot Vernon Wells in the ninth inning.
I picked Texas to win the AL West despite not feeling particularly confident about their rotation, but Wilson going from good setup man to solid middle-of-the-rotation starter would go a long way toward changing that. Assuming Francisco gets back on track and Neftali Feliz dominates in Wilson’s old setup role, of course.

Former Mets pitcher Anthony Young dies at 51

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Former Mets pitcher Anthony Young died on Tuesday at the age of 51, the team said. Young was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in February.

Young, 51, pitched parts of six seasons in the majors from 1991-96. He began his big league career with the Mets in 1991 and stayed with the team through ’93. He famously failed to win a game between April 24, 1992 and July 24, 1993. During that span of time, he went 0-27. It was a great example, even back then, of the uselessness of won-lost records. Young posted a respectable 4.17 ERA in ’92 and 3.77 in ’93.

Former pitcher Turk Wendell, who was Young’s teammate with the Cubs in 1994-95, called Young “a true gentleman.”

Blue Jays designate Jason Grilli for assignment

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The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday that the club designated reliever Jason Grilli for assignment as part of a handful of roster moves. Outfielder Dwight Smith was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo, outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was activated from the 10-day disabled list, and pitcher Chris Smith was recalled from Buffalo as well.

Grilli, 40, struggled to a 6.97 ERA with a 23/9 K/BB ratio in 20 2/3 innings of work this season in Toronto. The right-hander similarly struggled in the first half last year with the Braves before being acquired by the Jays but Grilli’s role had diminished and most of the rest of the bullpen has been pulling its weight.

Grilli should draw some interest — perhaps from the Nationals — as his peripheral stats suggest he’s not nearly as bad as his ERA suggests.