Rays right-hander Alex Cobb exited today’s start after just three innings because of forearm tightness.
For now the team says it was merely a precaution, but of course we’ve heard that plenty this spring with injuries that proved to be more serious.
Cobb is being counted on to take over the top spot in Tampa Bay’s rotation and start 30-plus games for the first time after posting sub-3.00 ERAs in each of the past two seasons. Overall he has a 3.21 ERA in 499 innings through age 26.
Houston has officially named left-hander Dallas Keuchel as its Opening Day starter following a breakout season in which he came out of nowhere to throw 200 innings with a 2.93 ERA.
Prior to last season Keuchel had a 5.20 ERA in 239 career innings through age 25, but he was among the American League’s best pitchers and is a no-brainer pick to start Game 1 for the Astros.
He’ll likely be followed by Scott Feldman and Collin McHugh, but manager A.J. Hinch has not revealed his rotation plans beyond Keuchel.
Back in December the Rangers non-tendered Michael Kirkman and then re-signed him to a minor-league contract, but now they’re released the 28-year-old left-hander.
Kirkman has generally been an effective middle reliever, pitching parts of five seasons for the Rangers, but he spent most of last year in the minors and has struggled with shoulder problems all spring.
As a lefty with a mid-90s fastball and 103 strikeouts in 107 career innings he should be able to latch on somewhere else pretty quickly, but Kirkman’s health and poor control are holding him back.
Adam Wainwright’s abdominal strain has healed enough that the Cardinals have scheduled their ace to make his spring training debut Saturday.
Shortly after arriving at camp last month Wainwright headed back to St. Louis to be examined by specialists, but it appears as though he’s avoided another serious injury as he attempts to make his way back from offseason elbow surgery.
He reported no problems following a 50-pitch simulated game Monday and, barring any setbacks, it’s certainly doable for Wainwright to build up enough arm strength to be ready for Opening Day.
Sergio Romo hit the open market as a free agent this offseason and at age 32 it may have been his final chance at a big payday, but after spending his entire career with the Giants he had no interest in playing anywhere but San Francisco.
Romo told Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com that the Giants took their sweet time making him an offer, so he simply waited things out despite several other teams offering him sizable deals and even the chance to be a closer.
I just didn’t want to go anywhere, guys. I really didn’t. During that dead time, it’s hard to wait. It’s like, we can get this done in five minutes, for real. Call me up.
When they eventually did call in late December he quickly agreed to a two-year, $15 million deal to remain with the Giants, for whom he’s pitched seven seasons with a 2.51 ERA and 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings as one of the elite relievers in baseball. Romo saved 75 games from 2012-2014, including 23 last season, but he’ll remain in a setup role in front of closer Santiago Casilla.