John Maine was forced to leave Friday’s game against the Braves in the fourth inning due to muscle spasms and pain in his left (non-throwing) elbow.
It’s odd, but certainly nothing new for Maine, who left a a start against the Phillies on July 5, 2008 with a cramp in his left forearm. According to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse, Maine said this pain “feels exactly the same” as that occasion.
For what it’s worth, Maine didn’t miss any time after that start, but that doesn’t make Friday any less frustrating for the right-hander. Among whispers about his lost velocity, Maine is 0-1 with an 8.64 ERA and 2.10 WHIP over his first four starts.
Via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com:
“I started to feel good — all the work I put in between the last two
starts. I was right there. A couple of walks here, a bad pitch here, but
overall I felt fine. The ball was coming out. I was around the zone. I
didn’t miss many up. I was starting to figure it out and I felt good.
That makes it more frustrating, something like this. It’s frustrating.
It’s not that I get knocked out of the game. I get forced out by this.”
He’s currently listed as day-to-day, but if Maine is forced to miss a start, the Mets could go with Hisanori Takahashi, who allowed one run over three innings on Friday night, striking out seven of the 12 batters he faced. They also have Tobi Stoner, R.A. Dickey or Dillon Gee in the minor leagues. Or they could do something crazy and use Jenrry Mejia. Wait, what am I saying? He’s just a mop-up man.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.