Dontrelle Willis might truly be finished this time. Making an unscheduled appearance against the Dodgers, the left-hander left the game after just seven pitches Monday with shoulder tightness, the Cubs reported.
Willis, who announced his retirement last July after a stint with the Orioles’ Triple-A team, signed a minor league contract with the Cubs in January. He walked the first batter he faced today and threw one pitch to the second before exiting accompanied by the trainer. He was pointing towards his shoulder while in the dugout and seemed pretty distraught.
The 31-year-old Willis last pitched in the majors with the Reds in 2011, going 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts. The NL Cy Young Award runner-up in 2005, he hasn’t been an effective starter since 2006. Since being traded to the Tigers with Miguel Cabrera after the 2007 season, he’s won just four of 40 starts.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: