Scott Baker’s elbow again has the Twins worried


Last season Scott Baker made just four starts in the second half, including zero after August 8, spending two stints on the disabled list because of elbow problems that once again have the Twins worried this spring.

Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Baker’s “inability to get loose in a B game against Pittsburgh last Saturday raised some red flags” and then his fastball was clocked in the mid-80s while giving up six runs in 1.1 innings.

His next start hasn’t been scheduled yet because pitching coach Rick Anderson wants to see him get through a bullpen session without any issues first, and according to Christensen “this is an issue the Twins will monitor daily.” When healthy Baker was the Twins’ best starter last season, throwing 134 innings with a career-best 3.14 ERA and fantastic 123/32 K/BB ratio.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.