Stephen Strasburg plans to utilize his slider/cutter less in 2017, according to a report by MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The right-hander was sidelined in August and September with a strained flexor mass in his right arm and believes his chronic elbow issues stemmed from an increased usage of the pitch during the 2016 season.
Strasburg debuted his slider back in 2014, but didn’t start incorporating it into his regular routine until 2016. Brooks Baseball estimates suggest that the slider accounted for 17.16% of the 28-year-old’s pitches, ousting his changeup as the second-most common pitch in his repertoire. Whether his decision will bring his curveball and sinker usage back up from their all-time low totals in 2016 or whether he’ll simply lean a little harder on his change remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure, though: Strasburg doesn’t want to eliminate his newfound pitch entirely, as he credits it with his ability to get more outs early in counts (via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post).
It’s a proactive move for the right-hander, who appears to have returned to full health after multiple stints on the disabled list. He’ll resume his throwing program in January and, barring any unusual setbacks, should be good to go by spring.
Rays catcher Wilson Ramos had to exit Monday night’s game against the Orioles in the fifth inning after suffering a head injury. Ruben Tejada broke his bat on a ground out and the barrel hit Ramos in his helmet. Rich Dubroff reports that Ramos needed six staples to close a laceration on his head.
Ramos will continue to be evaluated under MLB’s concussion protocol. He may wind up on the seven-day concussion disabled list.
Ramos, 29, entered Monday’s action batting .222/.259/.426 with three home runs and 11 RBI in 59 plate appearances. He was 0-for-2 before being replaced by Jesus Sucre.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado and second baseman Jonathan Schoop teamed up to turn an impressive 5-4-3 double play in the bottom of the first inning of Monday night’s game against the Rays.
Steven Souza, Jr. led off the frame with a single. Corey Dickerson struck out, bringing Evan Longoria to the dish. Longoria sharply grounded a 1-2 fastball from Kevin Gausman to Machado, who showcased his strong arm with a perfect feed to Schoop at the second base bag despite his momentum taking him towards into territory. Schoop made an off-balance throw to first to complete the twin-killing.
The Orioles took the lead in the top of the third when Adam Jones hit a solo home run off of Ian Snell.