St. Louis has played on Sunday night in two straight weeks as part of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” game, with another appearance slated for May 25, and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is sick of having a different schedule than other teams.
Here’s what he told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
That reply, “Consider yourself lucky”–that doesn’t mean anything to us. Our job is to win games, and I feel that this is something that affects us one way or another. Nobody is going to give us any sympathy on this but if you’re seeking an honest reply and what they keep telling us–consider it fortunate–it just doesn’t fit to us. …
It is a compliment that they want to see us on the national scene. (But) I don’t think it’s taken into consideration at all that it makes it harder for us. You get back at 4 a.m. and have to play the next day? You’re telling me that’s not going to affect you? We’re not looking for excuses, but it’s happened to us. You start watching guys get run down.
It’s certainly a fair point and one I’ve heard raised by prominent NFL teams that frequently play on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday nights instead of the usual Sunday afternoons, but like Matheny says it’s tough to feel sorry for a team when the reason their schedule is different is that they’re consistently so good and everyone wants to watch them in primetime.
Goold notes that the Cardinals’ upcoming May 25 appearance on “Sunday Night Baseball” is followed the next day by an afternoon game against the Yankees, so that’s exactly the type of quick turnaround Matheny is frustrated by.
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.
Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.
The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.
Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.