Cardinals find their left-handed reliever in Randy Choate


St. Louis was initially targeting Sean Burnett as a left-handed bullpen addition, but after finding his price tag too high the Cardinals have moved on to Randy Choate.

Jayson Stark of reports that Choate and the Cardinals have agreed to a deal and Jon Morosi of says it’s for three years, which is very surprising for a 37-year-old.

Choate, unlike Burnett, is strictly a left-handed specialist rather than a left-handed setup man. In fact, in leading the league with 80 appearances this year he threw a grand total of just 36 innings.

He’s basically only good for a batter or two every other game and right-handed hitters tee off on him, but during the past three seasons Choate has limited left-handed hitters to a .173 batting average.

UPDATE: Choate is getting $7.5 million for three years, which is … well, more money and a longer commitment than anyone could have expected.

Madison Bumgarner diagnosed with fractured left hand

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Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner has been diagnosed with a fractured left hand, per a report from Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. He’ll undergo surgery on Saturday to insert pins in his pinky knuckle, adds The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly, and is expected miss anywhere from 4-6 weeks in recovery before he’s cleared to throw again. In a best-case scenario, the lefty will be ready to pitch again before the All-Star break, but nothing is set in stone just yet.

Bumgarner suffered the fracture during the third inning of Friday’s Cactus League game against the Royals. Whit Merrifield returned a line drive up the middle and the ball deflected off the top of Bumgarner’s pitching hand before bouncing into the infield. He chased after the ball but was unable to pick it up, and was immediately visited by manager Bruce Bochy and a team trainer before exiting the game.

The 28-year-old southpaw was gearing up for a massive comeback after losing significant playing time with an injury in 2017. During his tumultuous run with the Giants last year, he missed nearly three months on the disabled list after spraining his shoulder and bruising his ribs in a dirt bike accident. He finished the season with a 4-9 record in 17 starts and a 3.32 ERA (his first 3.00+ ERA since 2012), 1.6 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 111 innings. The Giants suffered as well; by season’s end, their pitching staff ranked seventh-worst in the National League with a cumulative 4.58 ERA and 10.1 fWAR.

This is the second massive injury the Giants’ rotation has sustained this week after right-hander Jeff Samardzija was diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle on Thursday. “Horrible news for us,” Bochy told reporters after Friday’s game. “That’s all you can say about it. There’s nothing you can do but push on.”