Here’s something you coulda set your watch to yesterday: as soon as Colby Rasmus was clear of the Cardinals, his father, Tony Rasmus, slammed Tony La Russa. He claimed that, contrary to what La Russa says, he wasn’t working with Colby on his hitting. He thinks that La Russa is simply a control freak who was looking for someone to go after and Colby was an easy target:
“Tony needed pitching and wanted to force the GM into making a trade, so he belittled Colby to the fans … Tony would like to have 25 pitchers, like he thinks he has to put his stamp on every ball game. They had nothing else to trade. I think everyone is better off now … There are three or four guys in the St. Louis clubhouse right now, thinking ‘oh-oh, who is the manager going to pick on next with Colby gone?’
I’m not the biggest Tony Rasmus fan on the planet — parents of grown up major leaguers should be seen and not heard — but it’s not like he’s totally out to lunch on this stuff.
Fact is La Russa has had run-ins with a number of guys over the years. Fact is that La Russa does like to put his stamp on games. Fact is that La Russa probably would like to have more pitching so that he may one day achieve his Holy Grail of a the 27-pitcher, 27-out ballgame. Fact is also that Colby Rasmus probably will do better now that he’s out of St. Louis than he did when he was there.
But seriously Mr. Rasmus: time to zip it. You may have a couple of valid observations about the difficulty some people have with Mr. La Russa, but your comments do more harm than good for your son. And it’s not like anyone is going to win a run-in with Tony La Russa in St. Louis. At some point you and Colby should have probably realized that.
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.
Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.
The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.
Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.