If Cardinals fans disliked Johnny Cueto before, they’re going to really despise the guy now.
Cardinals backup catcher Jason LaRue told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Saturday that he is done playing professional baseball due to a concussion suffered in early August when Cueto kicked him multiple times in the head.
“I’m done,” LaRue said. “It’s a simple decision.”
LaRue is still dealing with random bouts of headaches and nausea and said he gets a feeling much like seasickness when watching television or riding in a car. He wasn’t able to cook for himself, either, even a month after the kicks.
The 36-year-old will finish up with a .231/.315/.396 career batting line, accomplished over 11-plus professional seasons. He hit .196 this year with two homers and five RBI in 55 at-bats as Yadier Molina’s backup.
LaRue considered taking legal action against Cueto in the weeks after the on-field assault but has since dropped that idea. We’re thinking the Reds may want to limit Cueto’s exposure to the Busch Stadium crowd for a while. A long while.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa — an almost overly loyal backer of the guys he likes, and he liked LaRue — is most definitely steaming about tonight’s news.
With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.
Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.
With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:
If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.
Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.
It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.