Jake Westbrook suffers setback with oblique injury

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One day after Chris Carpenter returned from supposed “season-ending” surgery to rejoin their rotation the Cardinals look likely to lose Jake Westbrook for at least the remainder of the regular season.

Westbrook hasn’t pitched since September 8 because of an oblique injury and had to cut short today’s bullpen due to pain. Afterward he told reporters that it’s “hard to imagine” being able to pitch again before the regular season ends.

Westbrook has been solid with a 3.97 ERA, 106/52 K/BB ratio, and just 12 homers allowed in 175 innings, but with Carpenter added to the mix and Lance Lynn seemingly back on track the Cardinals’ rotation depth remains strong.

No word yet on if Westbrook might be able to return in time for postseason starts, but the Cardinals would lean on Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse, and Carpenter in the playoffs anyway.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.