Edinson Volquez failed to escape the first inning Monday night against the Giants, allowing five runs on five hits and three walks over just two-thirds of an inning. He now has a 6.17 ERA and 1.97 WHIP over his first eight starts since being activated from the disabled list in July, posting a troublesome 36/27 K/BB ratio over 35 innings.
Wild inconsistencies aren’t anything new with a pitcher returning from Tommy John surgery, but it’s especially tough for the Reds to continue to putting him out there in the middle of a playoff race. With that in mind, Reds manager Dusty Baker told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that he “did not know” whether Volquez would make his next scheduled start Sunday.
“We have to decide if it’s better served for him to continue to start
and hope he gets it or have somebody else start and possibly put him in
the bullpen or something,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We’ll decide
that after we revamp who’s pitching. Bryan is going to come up with two
or three different scenarios that we’ll go over and we’ll try to come up
with the best one for us and for them.”
It would be easy for the Reds to swap Mike Leake with Volquez, however the team recently sent the young right-hander to the bullpen in an effort to limit his workload. Aaron Harang would make plenty of sense for the spot, but he was recently hammered for six runs in a rehab start with Triple-A Louisville last Friday. Ultimately, it may come down to Matt Maloney, who was sent back to the minors when Volquez returned to the majors last month. The 26-year-old left-hander posted a 3.09 ERA in two starts with the Reds and has a 3.35 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) with Triple-A Louisville this season.
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.