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.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.