Still experimenting, Rockies add Double-A starter to rotation

4 Comments

As chaotic as things are with the Rockies pitching staff right now, is this really the time to be adding a top prospect from Double-A? GM Dan O’Dowd obviously thinks so. The club called up Edwar Cabrera today and announced that he’d make his major league debut in starting Wednesday’s game.

He’ll be taking the spot of Alex White, who struggled in both of his outings after the Rockies went to a four-man rotation.

The 24-year-old Cabrera was a late bloomer for Colorado. He didn’t even make his full-season debut until last year, but when he did, he went 8-3 with a 3.34 ERA and a 217/47 K/BB ratio in 167 innings for two A-ball teams. This year, he was 8-4 with a 2.94 ERA and an 82/23 K/BB ratio in 98 innings for Tulsa.

There’s still some skepticism regarding the left-hander. Even though he led the entire minors in strikeouts last year, Baseball America ranked him as the Rockies’ No. 18 prospect entering 2012. While his other numbers this season were great, he had given up 15 homers for Tulsa, a total that suggests he might not be a great fit in Coors Field.

All signs point to Cabrera being used just like the rest of the Rockies’ starters: three days’ rest, 75-pitch limit. That’s the case even though he was used conventionally in the minors: all of his recent starts had come on four days’ rest and he had pitched a total of 22 innings in his last three starts.

Especially in the wake of pitching coach Bob Apodaca’s departure, this seems like the wrong time for the Rockies to be breaking in someone new. Still, I will be very interested to see how Cabrera performs. He has some truly remarkable numbers. In April, he pitched 33 innings and allowed six runs, all of them coming on solo homers. In all, 23 percent of the hits he’s allowed this year have been homers (15 HR, 65 H). No MLB pitcher has ever had such a high ratio in a 150-inning season. Three have in a 120-inning season, and two of those were Coors Field-aided (Scott Elarton in 2001 and Denny Stark in 2002).

Pirates looking for outside outfield help

Omar Rawlings/Getty Images
2 Comments

Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates GM Neal Huntington is looking for outside outfield help in the wake of Starling Marte‘s 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. With Marte out of the picture, the club moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field and have played Adam Frazier, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna in right field. But, as Brink points out, Osuna and Jaso — neither an outfielder by trade — misplayed balls over the weekend against the Yankees.

Among available free agents, the pickings are slim. There’s Coco Crisp, Jeff Francoeur, Cole Gillespie, Kelly Johnson, and Nolan Reimold (who is currently in independent baseball). The Pirates may have to find themselves a trade partner. They could also try to talk Angel Pagan back into action, as the veteran outfielder recently said he’s taking the year off. The Pirates could also look at Leonys Martin, who was recently designated for assignment by the Mariners.

Matt Barnes ejected after throwing at Manny Machado’s head

Matt Hazlett/Getty Images
11 Comments

On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.

For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”

Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.

MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”

Update: Pedroia even apologized to Machado and the Orioles, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.

Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.

The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.