The worst start of Edinson Volquez’s Padres career was also apparently his last. He was designated for assignment prior to Saturday’s game, with reliever Brad Brach replacing him on the roster.
Volquez’s final line last night was six runs — five earned — in two-thirds of an inning. The Padres came back and beat the Cubs 8-6 anyway, but that didn’t save the right-hander. His ERA jumped to 6.01 in 142 1/3 innings for the season. The Padres let him go even though he’s tied for the team lead with nine wins (opposite 10 losses).
Saturday’s start against the Cubs was the second of Volquez’s career to last less than an inning. Coincidentally, it came on the third anniversary of the first time it happened, on Aug. 23, 2010 against the Giants.
If Volquez is going to turn his career around, he has to figure out some way to avoid the first-inning woes that have plagued him the last few years. He had a 6.75 ERA in the first inning this year. For his career, he has a 5.89 ERA in the first and a 4.53 ERA the rest of the time.
The Padres will probably audition either Burch Smith or Robbie Erlin in Volquez’s rotation spot next month.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉