The Cardinals have lost Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook and John Gast in the past few weeks to arm injuries, and they’re having to take drastic measures to fill all of those rotation openings.
This next move might be the most drastic of all.
According to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch, right-hander Michael Wacha — the 18th overall pick in last June’s MLB Amateur Draft — is no longer listed as the scheduled starting pitcher Sunday at Triple-A Memphis and might join the Cardinals this week.
Wacha has a stellar 1.71 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 74/19 K/BB ratio in 73 2/3 minor league innings since signing with St. Louis out of Texas A&M University. The tall 21-year-old opened the 2013 season at Triple-A Memphis after wowing the Cardinals’ decision-makers this spring in the Grapefruit League.
Kevin Gausman, another first-round pick (fourth overall) from last year’s draft, just joined the starting rotation in Baltimore. So it’s not an unprecedented jump. The Cardinals, though, would have probably preferred to keep Wacha down in the minors for at least another month for arbitration clock and developmental purposes.
MLB.com’s William Kosileski reports that Indians starter Danny Salazar is being moved to the bullpen and will be available as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. The Indians will go on a five-game road strip starting on June 2, and manager Terry Francona said that Salazar could get a start during that trip.
Salazar, 27, has struggled to a 5.50 ERA over his first 10 starts this season. While none of those starts were absolute disasters, he failed to finish the sixth inning in seven of those 10 starts. It’s a far cry from his performance over the last two seasons, when he finished with a 3.45 ERA and 3.87 ERA.
Salazar’s walk rate is up to a career-high 11.9 percent, per FanGraphs, and he’s allowing many more line drives at the expense of ground balls. Compared to 2016, his line drive rate is up 8.9 percent and his ground ball rate is down 10.4 percent. All of that could explain Salazar’s struggles to some extent.
It was only a matter of time before rookie sensation Aaron Judge clubbed his first grand slam. The Yankees’ power-hitting outfielder went deep in the third inning of Sunday’s series finale against the Athletics, clearing the bases with his 16th home run of the season and first career grand slam.
According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 378 feet into the right field bleachers, Judge’s second-shortest home run to date. It also marked his first homer since May 20 and sixth in the past month. Entering Sunday’s game, the 22-year-old outfielder is batting .316/.421/.665 with a league-leading 36 hits in 183 PA.
The blast padded the Yankees’ lead in the third inning, giving them a three-run edge over the A’s as Michael Pineda looked for his sixth win of the year. They currently lead 7-3 in the bottom of the seventh.