When the Indians placed Jensen Lewis on outright waivers I figured at least one team would be willing to put in a claim on a cheap 27-year-old reliever with a 3.68 ERA in 198 career innings, but instead Lewis and his $650,000 salary have cleared waivers.
That means the Indians have successfully removed Lewis from the 40-man roster, but still keep him in the organization and have assigned him to Triple-A. Earlier this week the Twins tried something similar with Pat Neshek, but the Padres claimed him.
In four seasons in the big leagues Lewis has ERAs of 2.15, 3.82, 4.61, and 2.97, so he’s obviously an MLB-caliber reliever, but his velocity has reportedly been down this spring and the Indians have shipped him to the minors before despite his overall success. Getting back to the majors will be tougher this time, because now to call up Lewis they’ll likely have to bump someone else off the 40-man roster.
Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner sustained a displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his left hand on Friday. He’ll undergo surgery on Saturday to insert pins in his pinky knuckle, a procedure that could require a four-to-six-week recovery period before he’s cleared to throw again. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Bumgarner’s total recovery time is expected to take 6-8 weeks. In a best-case scenario, the lefty said he should be able to pitch again before the All-Star break, but given the amount of time and care it’ll take for him to shoulder a full workload, it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to do so.
Bumgarner suffered the fracture during the third inning of Friday’s Cactus League game against the Royals. Whit Merrifield returned a line drive up the middle and the ball deflected off the top of Bumgarner’s pitching hand before bouncing into the infield. He chased after the ball but was unable to pick it up, and was immediately visited by manager Bruce Bochy and a team trainer before exiting the game.
The 28-year-old southpaw was gearing up for a massive comeback after losing significant playing time with an injury in 2017. During his tumultuous run with the Giants last year, he missed nearly three months on the disabled list after spraining his shoulder and bruising his ribs in a dirt bike accident. He finished the season with a 4-9 record in 17 starts and a 3.32 ERA (his first 3.00+ ERA since 2012), 1.6 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 111 innings. Without him, the Giants suffered as well; by season’s end, their pitching staff ranked seventh-worst in the National League with a cumulative 4.58 ERA and 10.1 fWAR.
This is the second massive injury the Giants’ rotation has sustained this week after right-hander Jeff Samardzija was diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle on Thursday. “Horrible news for us,” Bochy told reporters after Friday’s game. “That’s all you can say about it. There’s nothing you can do but push on.”