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.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.