For the second time this season Mariners prospect and former No. 2 overall pick Danny Hultzen is sidelined by shoulder problems.
Back in April he was diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff after having difficulty warming up before a start and Wednesday night Hultzen was scratched from his scheduled Triple-A start when he couldn’t get loose again. For now the Mariners are calling it a shoulder “irritation” and a “minor setback.”
Hultzen pitched very well when healthy enough to take the mound this season, throwing 29 innings with a 2.20 ERA and 31/7 K/BB ratio, which put him in line for a potential call-up. But now he’ll be shut down for at least two weeks and then the 23-year-old left-hander will have to build back his arm strength from there.
Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.
Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.
At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.