Center fielder Marlon Byrd was released from the hospital Sunday after an overnight stay, but the Cubs confirmed that he had suffered multiple fractures as a result of Saturday’s beaning and placed him on the disabled list.
Needing some relief help after scratching Matt Garza from his scheduled start tonight, the Cubs called up right-hander Justin Berg to replace Byrd.
Byrd was struck near his left eye by an Alfredo Aceves fastball in the second inning of Saurday’s game against the Red Sox. The Cubs have no timetable for his return.
Aceves said he tried to get in touch with Byrd to apologize over the incident, but he’s so far been unsuccessful.
Reed Johnson will start in Byrd’s place tonight and figures to have a large role while Byrd is out. Tyler Colvin, who started 14 games in center field for the Cubs last year, was demoted to Triple-A last week after hitting .113 in 62 at-bats. Triple-A Iowa’s primary center fielder, Fernando Perez, is batting just .207/.319/.310 in 116 at-bats.
Top prospect Brett Jackson, who would have been a candidate to step in, has missed the last 11 days with a finger injury. He was hitting .295/.420/.518 with four homers and 13 steals for Double-A Tennessee before going down.
If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.
Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.
The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.
At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.
Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.
Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.
Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.
Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.