Adam Wainwright’s rotation replacement likely Kyle McClellan

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The competition to replace Adam Wainwright in the Cardinals’ rotation is still officially humming along, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes that Kyle McClellan has all but locked up the job after spending the past three seasons in the bullpen.

Tony La Russa was also full of praise for McClellan, but stopped well short of handing him the gig and added that “we don’t have to decide yet.”

McClellan has allowed just one run in 12 innings this spring and has a 3.23 ERA in 218 career innings, albeit all as a reliever. In fact, he hasn’t started a regular season game in the majors or minors since way back in 2007 at Single-A.

Replacing him in the bullpen will be tough, but Goold suggests that’s unlikely to play a big factor in whether or not McClellan gets the rotation spot because the Cardinals are (smartly) focusing on their starters first and then worrying about relievers.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.