Prior to tonight, new Cubs left-hander Jon Lester hadn’t made a pickoff throw to first base since April 30, 2013. That’s right, nearly two years. If you watch the video linked here, you’ll know why.
Here’s a look at the aftermath of pickoff throw in the second inning tonight:
Anthony Rizzo is lucky he didn’t get seriously hurt here. He ran into the runner’s path back to first base and could have injured his knee. Fortunately, Jorge Soler bailed out Lester with a fantastic throw to nail Zack Cozart at third base. Lester and the Cubs keep trying to downplay any talks of him having the “yips” with pickoff throws, but teams are going to keep running on him until he finds a way to combat it.
By the way, Lester gave up six runs on 10 hits over six innings against the Reds tonight. His ERA sits at 7.84 through two starts with Chicago.
Correction: This was Lester’s second pickoff throw of the game. The initial version of this post indicated that this was his first. My apologies for the error.
After being given his release by the Dodgers earlier today, right-handed reliever Ryan Webb has signed a minor league deal with the Indians. He has been assigned to Triple-A Columbus.
Webb was traded from the Orioles to the Dodgers just one week ago. While it looked like he would function as bullpen depth with his new club, the Dodgers ultimately covered Webb’s $2.75 million salary in order to secure a competitive balance pick (No. 74 overall) in this year’s draft.
The 29-year-old Webb was useful out of Baltimore’s bullpen last season, posting a 3.83 ERA and 37/12 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings over 51 appearances. It probably won’t be long before we see him in the majors again.
Things are ugly between the Angels and Josh Hamilton right now, but manager Mike Scioscia told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times today that he hopes to have a “face-to-face” meeting with the embattled outfielder while the team is in Houston later this week for a series against the Astros.
An arbitrator ruled that Hamilton will not be punished for his recent drug relapse, but Angels owner Arte Moreno recently refused to say whether he’ll play for the team again and even indicated that they could attempt to recoup some of his salary. However, Scioscia only appears concerned about his well-being:
“Everyone’s been in touch with Josh,” Scioscia said. “The concern is that Josh is getting the help and support he needs right now. That’s first and foremost.”
DiGiovanna was told by a team official that Hamilton hasn’t reached out about visiting the team at Minute Maid Park. Scioscia isn’t sure if any other coaches or players will join him if the meeting occurs away from the stadium.
Hamilton, who is currently working his way back from February shoulder surgery, is owed $83 million from 2015-2017.
Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday due to a hyperextended right elbow which occurred under some freak circumstances.
Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes that Wilhelmsen was loosening up and swinging his arms when the back of arm slammed into teammate Danny Farquhar, who was running by. Bullpens are dangerous, man. Wilhelmsen thinks he’ll be able to resume playing catch by the end of the week, so it doesn’t sound too serious. The Mariners have called up right-hander Dominic Leone to take his place in the bullpen.
Wilhelmsen was an important part of Seattle’s excellent bullpen from last season, putting up a 2.27 ERA with 72 strikeouts over 79 1/3 innings. The 31-year-old has allowed two runs on five hits and one walk in 2 2/3 innings across his first two appearances this season.
Double-whammy here for Rangers outfielder Ryan Rua, as Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest reports that he has been diagnosed with a small non-displaced fracture in his right heel as well as a “severe” ankle sprain.
Rua suffered the injury while attempting to chase down a fly ball during Friday’s game. He’s expected to wear a walking boot for three weeks before being re-evaluated.
Rua, 25, won the primary left fielder job out of spring training and was 4-for-17 (.235) with a double across his first first games this season. Carlos Peguero should see most of the playing time during his absence.