Hong-Chih Kuo missed time in 2009 with the dreaded “yips” and was on the disabled list earlier this season with “anxiety issues,” both of which make his inability to throw strikes last night doubly worrisome for the Dodgers.
When healthy and on top of his game Kuo is among the elite, most dominating relievers in baseball, but yesterday he threw just five of 17 pitches for strikes, walked two of the four batters he faced, uncorked a wild pitch, and coughed up three runs while recording one out.
However, when asked by Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times if he was concerned about the outing, Kuo replied:
I walked a couple guys, I feel good. I just didn’t have command today. I feel bad I didn’t get guys out, but I go out there and I feel good.
I might be inclined to agree with Kuo, except his lack of command wasn’t just a one-game thing. Combined during his last four appearances Kuo has walked seven of 15 batters while giving up six runs and recording five total outs. He also has 15 walks in 16 innings overall this season after walking just 18 batters in 60 innings last year. Either he’s hurt or something simply isn’t right.
The Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.
With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.
Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.
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.