Jon Garland’s strained oblique muscle was confirmed today by an MRI exam and Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that he’ll be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks, meaning he’ll begin the season on the disabled list.
Coming into spring training the Dodgers had impressive pitching depth, but now Garland is out until at least late April and his would-be replacement, Vicente Padilla, is recovering from forearm surgery and may be out even longer.
Garland joined the Dodgers on a one-year, $5 million deal this offseason. Not only will the oblique injury hurt his chances of reaching the $3.5 million in incentives based on innings, his contract also includes an $8 million option for 2012 that vests if he throws 190 innings and is not on the disabled list in September.
Garland has been one of the most durable pitchers in baseball, topping 190 innings in nine straight seasons, but even a few missed starts would make reaching that mark (and triggering the option) in a 10th consecutive year unlikely. Gurnick points to John Ely and Tim Redding as the most likely options to replace Garland in the Opening Day rotation.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.