Lance Berkman is working his way back from a hip injury, but the Rangers designated hitter still has no timetable for beginning a minor-league rehab assignment a month after being placed on the disabled list.
Berkman told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram that he’s currently running at around 50 percent effectiveness, adding: “Not being 100 percent ready to go on a rehab assignment is not what I’d hoped, but it’s not entirely unexpected.”
Berkman didn’t show much power before the DL stint, but did get on base at a solid .355 clip with tons of walks and the Rangers could certainly use another potential impact bat in the lineup following the suspension of Nelson Cruz. In the meantime the Rangers have used five different designated hitters in the past five games.
Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.
Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.
Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.
In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”