Cardinals star rookie Shelby Miller was removed in the first inning of his start Wednesday night against the Dodgers after taking a line drive off his throwing elbow from Dodgers leadoff man Carl Crawford.
It was just the second pitch of the evening.
Miller grabbed his right elbow and hunched over on the front of the mound as trainers rushed to his side. He threw his glove in disgust before walking to the first-base dugout and down into the clubhouse.
Michael Blazek entered to finish out the first inning and Jake Westbrook took over in the second. Westbrook was scheduled to start Thursday’s series finale against Los Angeles; that assignment could now go to 21-year-old right-hander Carlos Martinez.
The Cardinals are loaded with good young pitching talent, but their lack of established frontline starters behind Adam Wainwright could be a major issue going forward if Miller is out for an extended period of time.
Miller entered Wednesday with a 2.89 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 132/35 K/BB ratio in 121 innings this year.
UPDATE, 9:19 p.m. ET: According to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch, Miller has been diagnosed with a right elbow contusion. That’s a promising first update, but Miller is sure to undergo more tests.
UPDATE, 9:45 p.m. ET: X-rays on Miller’s elbow turned up negative, tweets Langosch.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.