Cliff Lee suspended for five games

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Cliff Lee has been suspended for five games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing at Chris Snyder’s head during Monday’s game against the Diamondbacks. Seems a bit on the harsh side to me. I’m no fan of headhunting, but he didn’t hit him and I don’t recall Lee ever getting in trouble over this sort of thing before.

Of course Lee will likely appeal, if precedent holds the suspension will be dropped to three games, and then Lee really won’t have missed a turn in the rotation.  And hey, possible benefit: instead of starting the season against his opponents’ number one or number two starter, he’ll face an overmatched three or four.

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.