Author: D.J. Short

Pittsburgh Pirates v New York Mets

Jeff Karstens announces his retirement

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Jeff Karstens hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2012 due to injury and today he took to Instagram to announce his retirement from baseball:

Karstens, 32, didn’t pitch at all last season while rehabbing from labrum surgery. He’ll finish his career with a 26-40 record and a 4.44 ERA over 91 starts and 47 relief appearances between the Yankees and Pirates. He was a useful pitcher during his time with Pittsburgh, posting a 3.59 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 between 2012-2013.

Mariners place Austin Jackson on disabled list with a right ankle sprain

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Mariners center fielder Austin Jackson was placed on the 15-day disabled list today, one day after suffering a right ankle sprain while legging out an infield grounder.

Jackson originally hoped to avoid the disabled list, but Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon told Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune that he wasn’t expected to be ready in two or three days and they didn’t want to go short-handed. Justin Ruggiano is expected to handle the majority of the playing time in center field during his absence.

Jackson is off to a slow start this season, batting just .242/.294/.326 with two home runs and four RBI over 25 games.

In addition to placing Jackson on the disabled list, the Mariners brought up infielder Chris Taylor and relievers Mark Lowe and Joe Biemel from Triple-A Tacoma while designating left-hander Mike Kickham for assignment and placing outfielder Julio Morban on the restricted list for personal reasons.

Blue Jays hitting coach Brook Jacoby suspended 14 games for conduct toward umpiring crew

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays
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MLB brought the hammer down really hard on Blue Jays hitting coach Brook Jacoby for an incident with the umpiring crew while the team was in Boston last week:

It’s unclear what Jacoby did specifically, but Jeff Blair of Sportsnet.ca recently reported that Toronto’s coaching staff and Bill Miller’s umpiring crew were yelling at each other after a game last Wednesday. Apparently things got so heated that there has been a change of policy at Fenway Park as a result where visiting teams will be required to wait until the umpires come off the field before going into the dugout walkway after a game. Both use the same hallway at the stadium.

According to John Lott of the National Post, the Blue Jays have appealed the suspension. However, Jacoby isn’t allowed to be in the dugout during games even as he awaits the appeal.

Here are some more interesting details of the confrontation:

Alex Cobb shut down after setback with forearm injury

Alex Cobb
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Rays right-hander Alex Cobb has been sidelined since the middle of March due to forearm tendinitis and it doesn’t sound like he’ll be back in the near future.

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Rays manager Kevin Cash said today that Cobb has been shut down from throwing after suffering what he described as “a little bit of a setback.” He advanced to bullpen sessions toward the end of last month, but Cash said that “he didn’t feel as good as he’d hoped.” The Rays have already sent him to the team doctor, but they’ll see how he feels after a couple of days of rest before deciding on the next step.

Cobb, 27, quietly posted a 2.82 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 over 49 starts from 2013-2014. Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi are off to nice starts and Drew Smyly recently returned from the DL, but he’s greatly missed in Tampa Bay’s rotation.

Chad Billingsley set to join Phillies’ rotation on Tuesday

Chad Billingsley
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According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, the Phillies will activate right-hander Chad Billingsley from the 15-day disabled list to start Tuesday against the Braves in Atlanta.

Billingsley hasn’t pitched in the majors in over two years, as he underwent Tommy John surgery in April of 2013 and needed surgery last June to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow. The Phillies gave him a one-year, $1.5 million deal over the winter which could max out at $8 million with incentives.

Billingsley, 30, posted a 4.74 ERA with 16 strikeouts and six walks in 19 innings over four minor league rehab starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He owns a 3.65 ERA in his career, so he’s a fine gamble for rebuilding Philadelphia and could be flipped for a useful prospect at the trade deadline if he can show something close to his old form.

Billingsley will take the rotation spot of right-hander David Buchanan, who was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley today after posting an ugly 8.76 ERA and 12/15 K/BB ratio over his first five starts this season.