Rough news for the Twins this morning, as LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that prospect left-hander Lewis Thorpe needs season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Thorpe, 19, was shut down last September with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. The Australian native attempted to go the rest and rehab route rather than have surgery, but it ultimately proved unsuccessful and now he’ll be sidelined through the early part of next season.
Thorpe has shown plenty of promise in the early part of his professional career, with a 2.80 ERA and 179/54 K/BB ratio over 157 2/3 innings while working his way up to Class A Cedar Rapids.
Yordano Ventura was recently named as the Royals’ Opening Day starter and he had a heck of a tuneup in his latest Cactus League outing last night, throwing seven no-hit innings against the Mariners. Check out the video below:
One of the hardest throwers in the game, the 23-year-old Ventura had a 3.20 ERA and 159/69 K/BB ratio over 183 innings during his first full season in the big leagues last year. With James Shields now in San Diego, the Royals hoping that Ventura can emerge as their ace for the foreseeable future.
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon said last month that he would be interested in a trade to the Blue Jays and it appears that the possibility might still have some legs. Check out this report from Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:
Maybe Alex Anthopoulos, general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, popped into Bright House Field on Friday afternoon because he enjoys those Delco’s cheesesteaks that they sell behind home plate.
Or maybe he was there to see Jonathan Papelbon.
Whatever the case, it was quite interesting to see Anthopoulos seated in the scouts’ section watching the Phillies play the New York Yankees while his own team was hosting the Detroit Tigers just a few miles away in Dunedin.
Rain began falling in the third inning and Anthopoulos soon vanished. But he was there long enough to see Papelbon have another good spring outing.
According to Salisbury, Papelbon smiled when he heard Anthopoulos was in attendance and said, “Huh, interesting.”
As of now, the Blue Jays are set to go into the season with Brett Cecil as their closer, but they could obviously revisit the situation at some point. Anthopoulos was likely just doing some due diligence on that end.
Papelbon has the ability to block trades to 17 teams, including the Blue Jays. The 34-year-old could demand for his $13 million vesting option for 2016 to be picked up in order to sign off on a deal.
Mike Pelfrey has pitched almost exclusively as a starter in the majors, but he’s headed to the bullpen now that the Twins have named Tommy Milone as their fifth starter. And he’s not happy about it.
After being limited to just five starts last season due to a groin strain and surgery to relieve pressure on the ulnar nerve near his elbow, Pelfrey has turned in a solid 1.32 ERA and 7/2 K/BB ratio across 13 2/3 innings this spring. The 31-year-old right-hander feels that he did enough to win a spot in the rotation, telling Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he’s “kind of disappointed, frustrated, a little upset” with the move to the bullpen.
Pelfrey also said that he would welcome a trade to pitch as a starter elsewhere, but interest figures to be limited. He’s owed $5.5 million this season and owns an ugly 5.56 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 over 34 starts since returning from Tommy John surgery.
Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez has only appeared in six Grapefruit League games this spring due to a sore right elbow and triceps. It’s increasingly clear that he won’t be ready for the start of the season.
Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports that doctors found “something” in an MRI of Vazquez’s elbow. The 24-year-old is going for a second opinion, after which we should know more about this status. However, this quote from Vazquez isn’t very encouraging:
If Vazquez begins the season on the disabled list, some Red Sox fans will surely clamor for top prospect Blake Swihart to get the opportunity to fill in. Red Sox manager John Farrell didn’t dismiss the possibility in this story from Peter Abraham and Alex Speier of the Boston Globe yesterday, but odds are they’ll give him some more time in the minors. He has only played 18 games above Double-A. There’s also the service time issue to think about. The Red Sox could be forced to rely on a tandem of Ryan Hanigan and Humberto Quintero in the early part of the season.