According to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, new Diamondbacks pitcher Taijuan Walker said he was dealing with 10 bone spurs in his right foot, which impacted his ability to push off and use his lower body. The biggest bone spur was three-fourths of an inch in size, Gilbert adds.
Moving from the more pitcher-friendly Safeco Field in Seattle to the more hitter-friendly Chase Field in Arizona, Walker said he plans to add a two-seam fastball in an attempt to keep the ball on the ground. The 24-year-old last season allowed 27 home runs in 134 1/3 innings. As a percentage of fly balls, his 17.6 percent home run rate was eighth-highest among pitchers who logged at least 130 innings. Despite the home run issues, Walker did manage to keep his ERA at 4.22 while averaging better than three strikeouts for every one walk. If he’s able to tamp down the homers, it will be interesting to see if he can live up to his potential with the Diamondbacks.
Jeeho Yoo of Korea’s Yonhap News reports that Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang was arrested on Friday — it’s Friday in Korea — for a DUI and fleeing the scene.
A translated report from Naver details what happened. Kang reportedly had a 0.084 percent blood alcohol level. As Yoo notes, the legal limit is 0.05 percent. Kang apparently crashed into the guard rails, but caused damage only to his own vehicle and public property.
This isn’t Kang’s first off-the-field incident. Chicago police investigated Kang this past summer for alleged sexual assault.
Major League Baseball and the Pirates haven’t yet issued a comment, but expect them to do so once the details of the incident are confirmed. Kang could be facing a fine and/or a suspension.
Update #2 (6:25 PM EST): John Gant is also going to the Cardinals, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Gant, 24, made his major league debut last season and put up a 4.86 ERA with a 49/21 K/BB ratio in 50 innings. He’s known for his odd delivery.
Update (6:23 PM EST): Two of the known prospects going to the Cardinals are second baseman Luke Dykstra and pitcher Chris Ellis, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. MLB Pipeline ranked Ellis 17th and Dykstra 29th in the Braves’ system.
Ellis, 24, split the past season between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett, posting an aggregate 4.49 ERA with a 126/87 K/BB ratio in 146 1/3 innings.
Dykstra, 21, spent the 2016 season with Single-A Rome. He hit .304/.332/.363 with 17 doubles and a triple along with 41 RBI and 32 runs scored in 342 plate appearances.
The Braves have acquired starter Jaime Garcia from the Cardinals in exchange for prospects, ESPN’s Mark Saxon reports. The Cardinals exercised Garcia’s $12 million club option for the 2017 season last month. He can become a free agent going into the 2018 season.
Garcia, 30, was able to pitch a full season for the first time since 2011, finishing this past campaign with a 4.67 ERA and a 150/57 K/BB ratio in 171 2/3 innings. The lefty has, in the past, been bothered by elbow and shoulder issues, causing him to miss significant amounts of time.
The Braves continue their active offseason as the club also signed veterans R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon to bolster the starting rotation. If Garcia stays healthy and pitches well, the Braves could try to trade him to a contender by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.