Soup’s on in San Diego.
The Padres announced Tuesday that Cory Luebke would miss his start Wednesday with elbow tightness and that Jeff Suppan would be called up to pitch in his place against the Brewers.
Suppan, 37, was picked even though he had allowed nine runs and 17 hits in his 6 2/3 innings for Triple-A Tucson this season. The veteran right-hander last pitched in the majors with the Cardinals in 2010. He was 3-8 with a 5.06 ERA overall that season, but after Milwaukee released him, he was 3-6 with a 3.84 ERA for St. Louis.
Luebke’s loss would be huge for the Padres if it extends beyond a start or two. The 27-year-old is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA in five starts this season. Overall, he has a 3.30 ERA in 25 career starts, and he’s no Petco creation either, not with his 2.75 ERA in 88 1/3 innings on the road.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.