Remember Tsuyoshi Wada? The Japanese left-hander signed a two-year, $8.15 million free agent contract with the Orioles last winter but developed elbow discomfort shortly after arriving at spring training and wound up needing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in early April.
He is recovering nicely, sources told MASN’s Roch Kubatko down at the Winter Meetings, and expects to be in the running for a rotation spot when spring training gets underway about three months from now.
Wada registered a dominant 1.51 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 168/40 K/BB ratio across 184 2/3 innings (26 starts) in 2011 for the Softbank Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League. He turns 32 years old on February 21.
If Wada can’t crack the rotation, he could be used as a long man in the Baltimore bullpen.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: