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.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.