According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the Astros announced this morning that left-hander Sergio Escalona has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery next week.
Escalona, who was acquired from the Phillies last January, posted a 2.93 ERA and 25/11 K/BB ratio over 27 2/3 innings out of Houston’s bullpen last season. The 27-year-old held left-handed batters to a .188/.278/.313 batting line and a .590 OPS.
With Escalona sidelined, Wesley Wright and Fernando Abad will likely compete for the team’s left-handed specialist job. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow hasn’t dismissed the possibility of using non-roster invitee Zach Duke out of the bullpen if he doesn’t win a spot in the starting rotation.
The Nationals have acquired left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski and cash considerations from the A’s in exchange for minor league infielder Max Schrock.
Schrock is a 21-year-old second baseman who has been pretty darn impressive in A-ball this year, but the Nats can be excused for giving up promise in 2018 or whatever for some bullpen help come playoff time. Rzepczynski walks a few too many guys for my taste but he strikes ’em out at a pretty decent rate for a LOOGY and the Nats could use another southpaw reliever apart from Oliver Perez. This is especially true given how many tough lefty hitters they may face in the playoffs.
On the basic merits, sure, Rzepczynski for Schrock may look pretty dang good for the A’s in a few years. But this October the A’s will be watching on TV from home while the Nats will be trying to win it all, making the trade pretty darn understandable from their point of view.
Meanwhile, in Tulsa, Zach Welz of the visiting Arkansas Travelers made a spectacular catch. It was the catch Torii Hunter tried to make on that famous David Ortiz homer in the playoffs a few years back except Welz made it.
Watch as he topples over the wall to come up with the would-be dinger off the bat of Tulsa Drillers first baseman Cody Bellinger: