The Rockies are ready to begin reaping the rewards of the recent Ubaldo Jimenez trade.
Jim Tracy announced earlier today that Alex White will be activated from the disabled list and start Tuesday against the Astros. He’ll take the place of struggling right-hander Jason Hammel, who will move to the bullpen for now.
White was acquired from the Indians last month along with 2010 first-round pick Drew Pomeranz, right-hander Joe Gardner and first baseman-outfielder Matt McBride. The 22-year-old right-hander posted a 3.60 ERA and 13/9 K/BB ratio over his first three major league starts before going on the disabled list in May with a strained ligament in his right index finger. The 2009 first-round pick struck out four over 7 2/3 shutout innings Thursday in his most recent minor league rehab start with Double-A Tulsa.
Hammel was just blasted for six runs over three innings in a loss to the Dodgers last night. He has an ugly 8.41 ERA and 21/22 K/BB ratio since the All-Star break and a 5.24 ERA for the season. While he is basically throwing at the same velocity this season as he was in 2010, his strikeout percentage has dipped from 18.3 percent to 11.9 percent while his walk percentage has increased from 6.1 percent to 9.7 percent. The 28-year-old right-hander avoided arbitration this winter by signing a two-year, $7.75 million contract. He is owed $4.75 million in 2012.
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.