According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, the Rangers have named Yovani Gallardo as their Opening Day starter for April 6 against the Athletics. This will be his sixth straight Opening Day start and his first as a member of the Rangers.
Gallardo, who was acquired from the Brewers over the winter, posted a 3.51 ERA and 146/54 K/BB ratio in 192 1/3 innings across 32 starts with Milwaukee last season. He’s the next best option for the Rangers after their ace Yu Darvish underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery earlier this month. Derek Holland is currently lined up to start the home opener.
By the way, do you remember who the Rangers’ Opening Day starter was last year? I had to look it up to refresh my memory. It was Tanner Scheppers. That didn’t go so well.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers and Marlins have been discussing a trade involving pitching. The Rangers, who lost Yu Darvish for the season due to Tommy John surgery, need rotation depth and apparently have interest in Brad Hand. They also need a second left-hander in the bullpen, and the Marlins’ Mike Dunn could fill that gap.
Hand, a left-hander who turned 25 years old on Friday, has a career 4.42 ERA with a 123/88 K/BB ratio over 195 1/3 innings in the majors. Hand is out of options and the Marlins’ starting rotation is full, so he would either open up the season as a reliever or he’d move on to another team.
Dunn, 29, is also out of options. He’s proved effective out of the bullpen for the Marlins over the last two seasons, compiling a combined 2.89 ERA with a 139/50 K/BB ratio over 124 2/3 innings. Over his career, he’s held left-handed hitters to an OPS 115 points lower than right-handed hitters.
[Update, 7:04 PM EST] MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports that the Marlins aren’t looking to move Dunn.
Tigers starter Justin Verlander has never spent a day on the disabled list in his major league career, logging 30 or more starts in every season dating back to 2006. He stands out in a time when a serious elbow or shoulder injury seems like an inevitable part of every pitcher’s career.
Verlander has a theory on that. Via ESPN’s Jayson Stark:
“I think baseball coddles guys so much now that you delay the inevitable. I think the reason you see so many big leaguers blowing out at a young age is because they would have done it before. But now teams limit pitch counts so much, even at the major league level, that now a guy in his second or third year will pop, when it would have happened in the minors.
“Before,” he continued, “when there wasn’t such an emphasis on pitch counts, I think you kind of weeded that out. Then guys would have surgery [in the minor leagues]. Then they’d come back. And then they’d get to the big leagues.”
Dr. Glenn Fleisig, the research director at Dr. James Andrews’ American Sports Medicine Institute, disagrees with Verlander’s theory, suggesting that poor mechanics and pitching while fatigued are the culprits. He said, “I have tremendous respect for Justin Verlander. You and I are not Justin Verlander. We’ve never thrown 200 innings in the major leagues, or even one inning. So he has a different perspective than we have. But I also have a different perspective. I have science.”
As far as Verlander’s theory goes, it certainly doesn’t apply to Yu Darvish. He threw 200-plus innings in four out of his last five seasons in Japan but still succumbed to season-ending Tommy John surgery.