From the Pirates’ official Twitter account comes word that the team has asked for release waivers on right-hander Rick VandenHurk for “the purpose of allowing him to sign with a foreign club.” We would guess that it’s a team from either Korea or Japan.
VandenHurk posted a promising 2.92 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 19 starts and two relief appearances last season at Triple-A Indianapolis, fanning 113 batters and issuing only 35 walks in 123 1/3 innings. But the Pirates weren’t going to give him much of a chance this season and he probably got a decent offer — maybe close to $1 million — overseas.
The 27-year-old Netherlands native was signed by the Marlins as an amateur free agent in 2002. He’s made 50 major league appearances (35 starts, 15 in relief) to the tune of a 6.08 career ERA and 1.63 career WHIP.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Sunday that the Brewers claimed catcher Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics. Vogt was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday.
Vogt, 32, was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, but struggled this year. He hit .217/.287/.357 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances.
With the Brewers, Vogt will likely split time behind the plate with Manny Pina. Meanwhlie, the Athletics’ catching situation will be handled by Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell.
Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.
Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.
According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.
Hinch’s full comments are below: