Jake Westbrook was pulled from the Cardinals’ rotation down the stretch and had his $9.75 million option for 2014 declined, and now the 36-year-old right-hander is retiring after 13 seasons in the majors.
Westbrook broke the news to local reporter Rob Rains, saying: “The interest that I was getting wasn’t significant enough for me to go through the grind of another year and be away from my family.”
Westbrook walked more batters (50) than he struck out (44) in 117 innings last season and hasn’t posted a better than average ERA since 2007, but he also never had a truly terrible season during that time and was generally a decent innings-eater.
He finishes with a 105-103 record and 4.32 ERA in 1,748 innings for the Indians, Cardinals, and Yankees, including four 200-inning campaigns and one trip to the All-Star game in 2004. Oh, and more than $70 million in career earnings.
Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.
While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.
Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.
SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.
Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.
Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.
At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.
In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.