If Kerry Wood makes one final appearance at Wrigley Field before announcing his retirement he won’t be throwing to Geovany Soto, as the Cubs catcher has been diagnosed with a partially torn meniscus in his left knee and needs arthroscopic surgery that will sideline him for at least three weeks.
Manager Dale Sveum told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that Soto will likely be placed on the disabled list after the game, leaving 25-year-old rookie Welington Castillo as the Cubs’ primary catcher.
Castillo had a very modest minor-league track record prior to reaching Triple-A, where he hit .274 with 30 homers and an .852 OPS in 147 total games. His lack of plate discipline could be a problem in the majors, but it won’t be very tough to replace Soto’s production.
Soto still has 20-homer power, but no longer looks anything like the all-around impact player who won Rookie of the Year honors in 2008 and has hit just .216 with a .690 OPS in 153 games since the beginning of last season.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.