Jose Valverde won’t pitch in World Baseball Classic due to personal issue


Jose Valverde can’t convince an MLB team to sign him despite saving 35 games with a 3.78 ERA for the Tigers last season and now he’s not even going to pitch in the World Baseball Classic.

Valverde was slated to play for the Dominican Republic, but the team announced that he’s been removed from the roster due to an undisclosed “personal issue” and replaced by Lorenzo Barcelo.

Once upon a time Barcelo was a top prospect in the White Sox’s farm system, but his big-league career stalled at age 24 after posting a 4.50 ERA in 66 innings and the 35-year-old right-hander has spent the past few seasons in the Mexican League.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.