Ryan Dempster moves into major league lead in pitches thrown

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That final pitch Ryan Dempster threw Friday — a ball four to Bronson Arroyo with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh — moved him into the major league lead for pitches thrown this season. The top 11 is below. Everyone on the list has made exactly 17 starts:
1. Ryan Dempster – 1,878
2. Roy Halladay – 1,877
3. Dan Haren – 1,873
4. Yovani Gallardo – 1,869
5. Jered Weaver – 1,868
6. Felix Hernandez – 1,866
7. Kevin Millwood – 1,841
8. Aaron Harang – 1,797
9. Chris Carpenter – 1,789
10. Randy Wolf – 1,784
11. Zack Greinke – 1,770
There are also two pitchers with 16 starts up close to Dempster and Halladay in pitches per outing:
1. Ubaldo Jimenez – 1,756
2. Justin Verlander – 1,753
It will be interesting to see just how many pitchers from this group of 13 decline in the second half. Haren has a history of second-half swoons, and though he’s not pitching as well as usual, he’s taken on a very extremely heavy workload.
I think Dempster is at particular risk. He’s the only pitcher in baseball to have thrown 120 pitches on five occasions this season (Gallardo and Jimenez have done so four times). In 2008, he threw 101.2 pitches per starts. In 2009, it was 101.9. This year, he’s at 110.5. Particularly since they’re committed to him for $27.5 million between 2011 and 2012, the Cubs would be smart to be more careful with him from here on in.

Braves sign David Hernandez

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Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.

Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.