UPDATE: Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Lackey will fly back to Boston tomorrow for an MRI.
3:25 PM: Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports that Lackey left the game with a right biceps strain. Of course, that’s just the initial diagnosis and it doesn’t tell us much. We should know more soon.
3:00 PM: John Lackey was back in action in a regular season game today for the first time since Tommy John surgery in November of 2011. Unfortunately he didn’t last long.
According to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, Lackey left today’s start against the Blue Jays in the bottom of the fifth inning with an apparent injury to his right arm. It didn’t look good. Lackey immediately grabbed at his biceps area after throwing an arrant pitch with Jose Reyes at the plate. Replays showed that he may have felt some discomfort on the previous pitch, but that one extra pitch is what did him in.
It’s a real shame, as Lackey was pitching really well in his return to major league action. He gave up two runs (a two-run homer by J.P. Arencibia) over 4 1/3 innings while striking out eight and walking just one.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.