Despite an outstanding track record that includes a dominant season for the White Sox last year J.J. Putz was available to the Diamondbacks at a relative discount this offseason because of his injury history.
Putz provided a great early return on Arizona’s two-year, $10 million investment, converting all 16 save chances with a 1.45 ERA through the end of May, but he blew four saves in June as his ERA doubled and now he’s been placed on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis.
David Hernandez has pitched well in a setup role and certainly has closer-caliber raw stuff, with a mid-90s fastball and 41 strikeouts in 37 innings, so the Diamondbacks should feel fairly confident turning to him as a ninth inning fill-in. The rest of the bullpen hasn’t been nearly as strong, however, and moving everyone else up one rung on the relief hierarchy could lead to some issues.
If you take out Putz and Hernandez, the rest of the Diamondbacks’ bullpen has a 4.32 ERA.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this:
Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.
It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.
Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.