UPDATE: It’s official. Luebke announced that he’ll go under the knife later this week and miss the remainder of the season.
Yesterday the Padres shifted Cory Luebke from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list and manager Bud Black told Sarah Trotto of MLB.com that the left-hander is “strongly leaning” toward undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery.
Luebke has been out since April 27 with an elbow injury and apparently some thought has been given to attempting to pitch through the partial ligament tear, but every indication is that he’ll go under the knife at some point later this week.
It’s a tough break for the Padres, as Luebke had emerged as a long-term building block despite not debuting in the majors until age 25, throwing 188 innings with a 3.25 ERA and 195/58 K/BB ratio. Even worse, the season-ending injury and 12-month recovery timetable come right after Luebke and the Padres agreed to a contract extension worth $12 million in guaranteed money and as much as $27 million through 2017.
The Diamondbacks have signed free agent left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a minor league deal, per a team announcement on Sunday. The contract includes an invitation to spring training. Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com adds that De La Rosa stands to make $2.25 million if he secures a spot on the major league roster, with up to $600,000 in incentives if he pitches out of the bullpen and up to $1 million in incentives if he pitches out of the starting rotation.
The 35-year-old is expected to compete for a bullpen role after spending the better part of a decade in the Rockies’ rotation. He capped a nine-year run with Colorado in 2016, finishing the year with a 5.51 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 over 134 innings. Despite his struggles out of the rotation, he found limited success in a three-game stint in the bullpen, striking out 10 of 26 batters and holding the opposition to just three hits and one earned run in eight innings.
The veteran lefty is set to join a bullpen comprised of right-handers Randall Delgado, Jake Barrett and Fernando Rodney, along with a number of unproven candidates on similar minor league contracts. His age and command issues may be off-putting, but the promise he showed as a reliever should give the Diamondbacks some upside as they attempt to redeem a league-worst bullpen in 2017.
Blue Jays’ third baseman Josh Donaldson is expected to miss up to three weeks with a right calf strain, reports John Lott. Donaldson reportedly felt some discomfort in his calf during sprinting drills on Friday and was diagnosed with what looked like a mild strain after undergoing an MRI on Saturday. According to Lott, the 31-year-old is on crutches for the next few days and will likely miss 2-3 weeks of spring training.
Donaldson had a similar scare at the start of the 2016 season, when he limped out of the batter’s box during the Blue Jays’ first regular season road trip with a right calf strain. He returned to DH two days later, however, and was back on the field in less than a week’s time. Blue Jays’ GM Ross Atkins told MLB.com’s Corey Long that the two calf injuries are unrelated, and expects that Donaldson will recover in similar fashion this spring — well before Opening Day comes around.