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.
The Mariners signed free agent left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported Saturday. LeBlanc previously signed a minor league agreement with the Yankees, but later requested his release following the team’s Grapefruit League outing on Friday. The Mariners have yet to confirm the deal or disclose its terms.
This is LeBlanc’s second stint with the Mariners in two years. He was initially acquired by Seattle in the summer of 2016 after the Blue Jays traded him for cash considerations, and produced a 4.50 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 in 50 innings before getting designated for assignment in August. The 33-year-old southpaw was last seen in the majors with the Pirates, with whom he generated another 4.50 ERA, 2,3 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 68 innings in 2017. He entered free agency after the club declined his $1.25 million option for 2018.
The signing comes at a fortuitous moment for the Mariners, who were pressed to find additional bullpen depth after right-handed reliever David Phelps tore his ulnar collateral ligament last week. As with most injuries of that kind, Phelps is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2018 season. LeBlanc made a full transition to the bullpen in 2017 and boasts the kind of reverse platoon splits (.216/.270/.389 vs. righties and .292/.333/.500 vs. lefties in 2017) that will make him an effective replacement for the right-handed Phelps.