We’re mere hours away from the official start of the regular season, when the Dodgers and Diamondbacks will square off in Australia. The Dodgers have made some last-minute roster decisions which includes 27-year-old Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero making the Opening Day roster.
The Dodgers have placed Matt Kemp, Josh Beckett, and Chad Billingsley on the disabled list retroactive to March 19, per the team’s official Twitter. Dan Haren, Zack Greinke, and Brandon League have been placed under a roster exemption while Carl Crawford has been put on paternity leave, also per the team’s Twitter. Because he has options, the Dodgers optioned catcher Tim Federowicz to Triple-A to keep Drew Butera around as the back-up catcher. Lastly, Joc Pederson, Zach Lee, and Miguel Rojas have also been optioned to the minor leagues.
Justin Turner will start at second base and bat second in the lineup. Guerrero could be used as a pinch-hitter in either of the two games in Australia against the D-Backs. Because he still needs to make some defensive adjustments, Guerrero is likely to report to Triple-A before the Dodgers open up the regular season back in the United States on March 30 in San Diego.
If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.
Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.
The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.
At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.
Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.
Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.
Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.
Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.