Clint Barmes out 4-6 weeks with fracture in left hand

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Clint Barmes was optimistic that he only suffered a bruise after being hit on the left hand by Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova last night. However, X-rays this morning revealed a non-displaced fracture of the the fifth metacarpal bone. In layman’s terms, a broken hand.

According to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle, Barmes will be sidelined for about 4-6 weeks.

“The good news is that they said I can stay in shape with everything, pretty much – throwing, running, all my core stuff,” said Barmes, who is righthanded. “I just can’t use my hand right now to catch the ball or swing.”

The injury to Barmes now sends the Astros scrambling for a starting shortstop. Matt Downs, Angel Sanchez, Anderson Hernandez and Oswaldo Navarro all remain in big league camp while Tommy Manzella, who was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier this week, is also a possibility.

You know, the Astros’ options for shortstop might be worse than what the Marlins could have at third base to begin the season. I didn’t think that was possible.

Cubs fire pitching coach Chris Bosio

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In something of a surprising move, the Chicago Cubs fired their pitching coach, Chris Bosio on Saturday. Bosio had held the job since the 2011-12 offseason.

The Cubs made the NLCS this year, but were nowhere as near the formidable as their 2016 World Series champion iteration. While there were several reasons for that, one was that the pitching staff, which featured multiple, better-than-expected performances in 2016, but took a step back in 2017. Some of that was personnel — Joe Maddon did not have Aroldis Chapman to call on in the postseason like he did last year — and a lot of that was mere regression from veterans like Jon Lester and John Lackey. A lot of it had to do with a much higher walk rate this year than in the past.

Still, there was no chatter during the season or at the time of the Cubs’ playoff exit the other day that Bosio might be a fall guy. The Chicago Tribune reports that it was Joe Maddon’s call and that he had grown displeased with Bosio. The Tribune report suggests that Cubs pitchers will be displeased with the move as they were devoted to Bosio. Coaches, of course, come and go, so I suspect they’ll get over it.

Whatever the case, Bosio likely won’t say unemployed for long. He is widely credited with helping Jake Arrieta transform from a project to an ace and for the considerable and the somewhat unexpectedly successful development of Kyle Hendricks. The Tribune suggests that he’d be a good fit in Minnesota, where his former teammate Paul Molitor is in search of a new pitching coach.

There are several intriguing coaches available at the moment, most notably Mike Maddux, who has been the Nationals pitching coach but whose status is now in flux given the firing of Dusty Baker. Maddux’s brother Greg, of course, is a spring training pitching instructor for the Cubs. The Tribune adds that Maddon may look to his old Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey or, possibly, even recently fired Red Sox manager John Farrell, who made his bones as a pitching coach.