Sean Burnett hasn’t pitched since Sunday because of forearm soreness and Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the left-hander won’t be available out of the Angels’ bullpen until at least Thursday.
Burnett underwent an MRI exam and “no significant damage” was found, but according to manager Mike Scioscia the Angels “have had some kid gloves on him when he’s needed to rebound a bit” because “he’s a vital piece of our bullpen and we need him 100 percent.”
Burnett, who signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Angels as a free agent this offseason, allowed just one run in eight innings before the injury.
Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.
Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.
To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.