Pirates star center fielder Andrew McCutchen admitted Saturday that the left knee discomfort that drove him from Friday’s game in Milwaukee has been bothering him since spring training. McCutchen sat out Saturday night and there was growing concern that an extended absence may be coming, but he is back in Pittsburgh’s starting lineup for Sunday afternoon’s series finale with the Brewers.
“It is frustrating because I am always the type of player to come into the season in tip-top shape, 100 percent, ready to go,” McCutchen told beat writer Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Saturday. “This has kind of been a little different for me this year. Battling a few things, just trying to get myself back to par, really.”
The 28-year-old is off to a 2-for-16 (.125) start in 2015.
From the official Twitter account of the Chicago White Sox …
Sale will make his 2015 regular-season debut on Sunday afternoon against the visiting Minnesota Twins. He missed his first turn in the White Sox starting rotation because of an avulsion fracture in his right foot.
The 26-year-old left-hander finished third in the American League Cy Young Award balloting last season after posting a sensational 2.17 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 208/39 K/BB ratio across 174 innings for Chicago.
Cubs prospect Kris Bryant had a massive showing this spring in Arizona, batting .425 with a 1.652 OPS and nine home runs in 14 Cactus League games.
And the fireworks have continued at Triple-A Iowa.
Bryant homered Saturday night in his third game since the Cubs’ semi-controversial demotion of the 23-year-old budding superstar. Here’s the video of that blast against the Memphis Redbirds, the Triple-A affiliate of the rival St. Louis Cardinals …
Bryant also doubled and singled in the game. He’s only in the minor leagues right now because the Cubs are manipulating his service-time clock to secure an extra year of contractual control. That window passes on April 17, so Bryant could very well make his major league debut on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Via Nick Camino of radio station WTAM in Cleveland …
Gomes suffered the sprain Saturday when Rajai Davis slid into his right leg at home plate. The Indians note on their official Twitter account that the full extent of the injury is still being determined. It looked bad.
Cleveland did not call up a catcher on Sunday morning, so slugger Carlos Santana will presumably serve as the emergency backup to new starting backstop Roberto Perez. Gomes, 27, had 21 home runs and 74 RBI in 135 games last season for the Tribe. This is a big loss for a team that has championship aspirations.
Clayton Kershaw wasn’t his usual dominant self on Opening Day last Monday against the Padres, yielding three earned runs on two walks and six hits over just six innings. And he was even worse in his second turn through the Dodgers’ 2015 rotation.
Kershaw gave up six runs — five earned — over 6 1/3 innings Saturday night at Arizona’s Chase Field as the Dodgers fell 6-0 to the Diamondbacks. Kershaw walked three and surrendered 10 hits — one of which was a seventh-inning Paul Goldschmidt homer that sailed 411 feet and drove Kershaw from the game.
As noted by Eric Stephen of True Blue LA, this was only the fourth time Kershaw had allowed double-digit hits in his eight-year major league career. He has done it twice at Coors Field and the other time was last year’s NLDS Game 1 against the Cardinals.
Out-dueling him on the other side Saturday night was Diamondbacks right-hander Archie Bradley, who spun six innings of shutout ball with six strikeouts in what was his major league debut.
Kershaw will carry a 5.84 ERA into his next start at home against the Rockies.