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.
Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?
Now, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Fighters are set to post Shotei Otani following the 2017 season. Passan says that his sources have told him that there are potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Shohei Otani and he links a Japanese article from Sponichi which says the Fighters would post him after the 2017 season.
It’d be interesting to see what that loophole is. Without knowing the exact terms of the CBA on this score it’s impossible to know, but one possibility is that there are different rules applicable to those with professional experience in other countries as opposed to amateur free agents.
Whatever the case, the notion that we could see Otani in the U.S. at age 23 or 24 is pretty exciting.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.