Clay Buchholz was expected to begin throwing off a mound yesterday, but Michael Vega of the Boston Globe reports that he had another long-toss session instead.
“He did the long toss again,’’ said manager Terry Francona. “We just felt like – and Buch included – one more time doing the long toss and, if all goes well, then maybe going to a bullpen Sunday or Monday.’’
Buchholz has been sidelined since leaving a start against the Rays on June 16 with a strained lower back. The young right-hander said yesterday that he felt “better” and was throwing “with some pretty good intensity” during his long-toss session, but also admitted that he still has “a little bit of stuff there.”
“I want to be out there pitching just as much as anyone else,’’ Buchholz said. “I had a picture in my head of coming back early next month and that’s still what I want to do. But, like I said before, I don’t want to go out there and pitch one outing and have to go back on the DL because it flares up again.’’
Buchholz, 26, is 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA and 60/31 K/BB ratio over 14 starts this season.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.