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.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.