Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto

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This is fun reading, but I can’t wait for the “this is a sabermetrician’s wet dream” cracks from old media:

Look out Ichiro Suzuki and Daisuke Matsuzaka. A pair of
baseball-playing robots that can pitch and hit with incredible results
have been developed in Japan.

The pitching robot, with its three-fingered hand, can throw 90
percent of its pitches in the strike zone, won’t need any relief from
the bullpen and never asks for a pay raise. The batting robot, which
has a sensor to determine if pitches are strikes or balls, hits balls
in the strike zone almost 100 percent of the time, doesn’t swing at
pitches outside the strike zone, and is guaranteed to pass all drug
tests.

But here’s the best part:

The pitching robot throws a plastic foam ball at 25 miles per hour,
but Ishikawa is hoping to increase the speed to 93 mph and make it able
to throw off-speed pitches like curves and sliders.

Hopefully he’ll have better luck with the robots than Leo Mazzone did with Daniel Cabrera.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.