No pitcher is safe from the elbow injury epidemic.
According to CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury, Phillies ace Cliff Lee underwent an MRI on his left elbow Tuesday after complaining of discomfort. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer says the veteran ace has been pitching with a flexor pronator strain for three weeks, and now there might be further damage.
Lee tossed 6 2/3 solid innings against the Reds in his last turn through the Phillies’ starting rotation and owns a cool 3.18 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 68 total innings this season. He has never had any major elbow or shoulder issues.
Lee is making a $25 million salary this year and he’s owed another $25 million next year, so Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery (and its 12-15 month recovery process) would be a crushing blow for the Phillies.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.