Phil Hughes bounced back from a two-run first to hold the Indians scoreless over the next four innings Wednesday in his first start after nearly three months on the DL with an arm problem.
The Indians started the game with a walk from Michael Brantley, a single from Asdrubal Cabrera and an RBI single from Travis Hafner. The second run scored after strike three to Carlos Santana got away from Russell Martin and Cabrera took off for third. The throw eluded Alex Rodriguez and went into left field, allowing Cabrera to score.
While it was an unearned run initially, it was ruled earned after Orlando Cabrera singled later in the inning.
Hughes improved from there, though he never had a one-two-three inning. He faced four batters each in the second, third and fourth. In the fifth, he hit two batters and walked another before getting Lonnie Chisenhall to fly out, ending the frame and his night.
Hughes threw 88 pitches, 57 of them for strikes. His fastball started off in the 92-93 mph range, but it had little movement and the Indians were able to make consistent contact against it. Hughes survived because of his secondary pitches, his curve in particular.
All in all, it simply wasn’t the kind of showing that suggests Hughes is going to be a force in the second half. He needs a little more velocity or fastball movement for that to happen.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.