Kevin Millwood was signed by the Yankees to provide a fallback option for the rotation and now Phil Hughes is struggling enough to make removing him from the rotation a possibility, but it doesn’t sound like Millwood will be back in the majors any time soon.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com spoke to a scout who saw Millwood pitch in extended spring training and said he was “terrible.”
Of course, the same scout also said of Millwood: “Here’s a guy who used to throw 94-95. Now he’s throwing 86.”
There may have been a point when Millwood threw 94-95 miles per hour, but it hasn’t been for a very, very long time. At least a decade, in fact. During the nine seasons in which Fan Graphs has velocity data Millwood’s fastball has averaged 90.8 miles per hour and going back to 2002, when he was with the Braves, his fastball averaged 91.4 mph.
None of which makes the fact that “now he’s throwing 86” any less of an indictment of Millwood’s current abilities, but it does say something about always taking the word of scouts as gospel. Sometimes the numbers tell plenty.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.