The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club placed outfielder Howie Kendrick on the 10-day disabled list with a right abdominal strain, retroactive to April 16. The Phillies called up pitcher Mark Leiter from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Kendrick, 33, sustained the injury over the weekend attempting to make a diving catch. The veteran was acquired by the Phillies from the Dodgers in November and is in the last year of his two-year, $20 million contract. Kendrick was performing well for the Phillies, batting .333/.395/.487 with four doubles and a triple with five RBI in 43 plate appearances.
Aaron Altherr, Daniel Nava, and Brock Stassi are all candidates to get increased playing time while Kendrick is out.
Leiter, 26, yielded just one run in 5 1/3 innings at Triple-A. He’ll likely work in low- and medium-leverage situations for the Phillies.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.