Pittsburgh just announced that hard-throwing minor leaguer Duke Welker underwent Tommy John elbow surgery, knocking the 28-year-old right-hander out for the remainder of this season and likely much of next year.
Welker was traded from the Pirates to the Twins for Justin Morneau in August, but then before he ever appeared in a game for Minnesota’s organization he was later traded back to Pittsburgh for minor leaguer Kris Johnson.
There was really no firm explanation given for the odd pair of moves at the time, although considering Welker made nine appearances at Triple-A this season before being shut down presumably a pre-existing injury wasn’t to blame.
Welker made his MLB debut with the Pirates last season and has a 3.32 ERA with 110 strikeouts in 106 innings at Triple-A.
Things got a little wild in the fifth inning of Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday. With one out and runners at the corners, Astros’ right-hander Charlie Morton fired a 1-1 fastball to Todd Frazier. Frazier returned the ball to third baseman Alex Bregman, who tossed a perfect throw over to Brian McCann at the plate just as Greg Bird came charging home. McCann’s setup was flawless, nailing Bird as he slid into the plate and nullifying the Yankees’ first real attempt to get on the board.
That’s as close as the Yankees have come to scoring so far. The Astros took an early 1-0 lead with Evan Gattis‘ 405-footer off of CC Sabathia in the top of the fourth inning. Jose Altuve chimed in with an opposite-field solo shot in the fifth, while McCann followed his lead-preserving tag with an equally jaw-dropping two-out, two-RBI double. Houston currently leads 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth.