There goes all of that crazy Wes Helms speculation I was looking forward to at this year’s Winter Meetings:
The Florida Marlins have signed third baseman Wes Helms to a $1 million, one-year contract extension through the 2011 season. The
Marlins generally don’t sign players to extensions during the season,
but have been talking to Helms for several weeks about returning. Helms
is hitting .225 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 178 at-bats in 91 games.
Wes Helms had 278 glorious plate appearances for the 2006 Marlins and has been one of the worst hitting third basemen in all of baseball since then. Yes, I realize he’s a backup, but there’s nothing that says your backup can’t hit a little. At this point I can only assume that his continued tenure with the Marlins is based on him being the nicest, most wonderful guy you’d ever want in a clubhouse. Or else the Florida brass thinks that the past four seasons are the exception and 2006 the rule.
According to the AP story, Helms is expected to become a coach or a manager after he’s done. I wonder if the Marlins realize that they can hire him in that capacity even if they don’ give him 250 trips to plate next year.
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander reportedly had trouble getting loose and it showed: he yielded a hit and three walks to the 10 batters he faced. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Strasburg had “some nerve impingement that has been alleviated.”
Manager Dusty Baker expects Strasburg to make his next scheduled start on Saturday at home against the Rockies, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Strasburg was examined by doctors, who deemed him to be in good shape — enough to not warrant undergoing an MRI.
Through 20 starts, Strasburg owns a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio across 121 2/3 innings. Though the injury scare isn’t what the Nationals hoped for, he’s done well in the first year of his seven-year, $175 million contract extension.
Cubs starter John Lackey didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the White Sox. The right-hander hit four White Sox batters over the course of five innings. He yielded just two runs, though, on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He left with a 4-2 lead.
Lackey hit Jose Abreu with one out in the first inning, then hit Abreu again in the fifth. He then hit Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada shortly thereafter. Chris Beck relieved Carlos Rodon for the White Sox in the bottom of the fifth and promptly hit Ian Happ with a fastball to lead off the frame. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale issued warnings to both benches and the beanings stopped.
So, how often do pitchers hit four batters in a game? Not that often! The last to do it was the Reds’ Josh Smith on July 4, 2015 against the Brewers. Before that, it was the Nationals’ Livan Hernandez on July 20, 2005 against the Rockies. Lackey is only the ninth pitcher to hit four batters in a game since 2000 and the 26th since 1913. The only other Cubs pitcher to do it besides Lackey was Moe Drabowsky in 1957.