Along with activating Brandon Morrow from the disabled list the Blue Jays have made another rotation move, surprisingly demoting left-hander Brett Cecil to Triple-A.
Cecil has struggled early on with a 6.86 ERA and 15/11 K/BB ratio in 21 innings spread over four starts, but he went 15-7 with a 4.22 ERA and 117/54 K/BB ratio last season and dropping the 24-year-old from the rotation is definitely unexpected.
Diminished velocity has played a big part in Cecil’s poor performance, with his average fastball clocking in at just 88.3 miles per hour after being at 90.1 mph last season.
He lost against the Yankees last night and afterward manager John Farrell talked about how Cecil’s attempts to “create a little additional velocity” led to control problems and elevated fastballs, so instead of trying to make mechanical adjustments on the fly in the majors they’ll let him do so at Triple-A.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.