Cubs sign Todd Wellemeyer to a minor league contract

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During an online chat earlier this afternoon Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reported that the Cubs have signed Todd Wellemeyer to a minor-league contract. According to Levine, the deal is worth $800,000 plus incentives if Wellemeyer makes the team out of spring training.

Wellemeyer was a reliever for the first four seasons of his career, but then put together a nice 40-start run as a middle-of-the-rotation starter for the Cardinals in 2007 and 2008. St. Louis let him go after he struggled as a full-time member of the rotation in 2009 and he couldn’t get back on track with the Giants last season.

He’ll probably compete for a bullpen gig in Chicago, but Wellemeyer’s raw stuff has declined to the point that a comeback seems unlikely. As a reliever his average fastball clocked in at 93-94 miles per hour and initially as a starter he averaged 92.2 mph, but his velocity dipped to 91.5 mph in 2009 and 90.2 mph in 2010.

Masahiro Tanaka throws a Maddux

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You do know what a Maddux is, right? In case you forgot, it’s a complete game shutout in which the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches. Friend of HBT Jason Lukehart invented that little metric and, because Greg Maddux is my favorite player ever, it’s pretty much my favorite stat ever.

In the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight it was Masahiro Tanaka doing the honors, tossing 97-pitch three-hitter in which he only allowed one runner to reach second base to beat Boston 3-0. He only struck out three but he didn’t walk anyone. He retired the last 14 batters he faced.

Chris Sale was no slouch himself, striking out ten in eight innings. He’s pitched great this year but he’s not getting any help. The Sox have only scored four runs in his five starts. Boston has scored only 13 runs in their last seven games. They’ve been shut out three times in the past seven. They scored more runs than anyone last year, by the way.

The game only took two hours and twenty-one minutes. Or, like, half the time of a Yankees-Red Sox game in the early 2000s. Progress, people. We’re making progress.

Shelby Miller has a tear in his UCL, considering Tommy John surgery

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Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller has a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and is considering undergoing Tommy John surgery. Surgery would end Miller’s 2017 season and would cut into a significant portion — if not all — of his 2018 season as well.

Miller sent his MRI results to Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. James Andrews for second and third opinions, respectively. He could choose to rehab his elbow rather than undergo surgery, but that comes with its own set of positives and negatives.

Miller lasted only four-plus innings in his most recent start on Sunday and carries a 4.09 ERA on the season, his second with the Diamondbacks. His time in Arizona has not gone well.