UPDATE: Well, this doesn’t sound promising. Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that Ventura exited due to “lateral elbow discomfort” and will be sent for an MRI.
9:36 p.m. ET: Troubling development for the Royals, as rookie right-hander Yordano Ventura was forced to exit tonight’s start against the Astros in the third inning with an apparent injury.
Ventura was getting hit around pretty good before exiting, as the Astros touched him up for five runs on seven hits and three walks over 2 2/3 innings. Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star notes that his fastball was clocked at 91 mph against his final batter, which isn’t a promising sign. We’ll pass along more information when we get it, but hopefully another young pitcher isn’t dealing with a serious injury.
Ventura, 22, owns a 3.45 ERA and 59/19 K/BB ratio in 57 1/3 innings over 10 starts this season. Per FanGraphs, he entered tonight’s outing with an average fastball velocity of 96.7 mph, which is the highest in the majors.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.