Eric Chavez walked off the field in the middle of an at-bat yesterday, so not surprisingly the Diamondbacks have placed the third baseman on the disabled list with a strained oblique.
To take his spot on the roster Arizona activated Willie Bloomquist, who’s been on the DL since the end of spring training with an oblique strain of his own. Bloomquist ended up missing two months with an injury that was expected to last 2-4 weeks, so putting a timetable on Chavez’s return probably doesn’t make much sense yet.
Chavez was extremely productive for the Diamondbacks, hitting .325 with seven homers and a career-high .956 OPS in 38 games while taking over as the primary third baseman at age 35.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.