Piniella picks Silva, Gorzelanny for Cubs' rotation

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Lou Piniella announced this afternoon that Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva will begin the season in the Cubs’ rotation, with Jeff Samardzija and Sean Marshall both heading to the bullpen.
“Unfortunately, we only have two spots,” Piniella said, which is funny considering that one of those spots is going to a guy who went 5-18 with a 6.81 ERA over the past two seasons and the other is going to a guy with a 4.87 career ERA. “Only” seems like an odd choice of words.
Assuming no further setbacks in his recovery from shoulder surgery and a knee injury Ted Lilly is expected to join the rotation a couple weeks into the season, at which point the Cubs will presumably move Silva into long relief and demote a reliever to Triple-A.
For now left-hander James Russell is slated for the final bullpen spot, so he’d probably be first in line to get the boot, but if Samardzija struggles initially the Cubs may decide to begin grooming him as a starter again at Triple-A. “Samardzija fits in nice in the bullpen with a power arm,” Piniella said. “He’s done that job before, and from there he can gain experience to work his way into the rotation at some time in the future.”

Michael Fulmer likely headed for Tommy John surgery

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Michael Fulmer was the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year Award winner. Last year he had his worst season as a major leaguer, finishing 3-12 with a 4.69 ERA and a 110/46 K/BB ratio in 132 1/3 innings. This spring he has been utterly lost in eight innings of work, getting hit hard and exhibiting diminished velocity. A few days ago, the Tigers shut him down and said they’d work on his mechanics.

Now comes the news that no one wanted to hear: the Tigers have announced that Dr. James Andrews has recommended that he get Tommy John surgery.

Fulmer is said to be seeking a third opinion — before Andrews he had an MRI and team doctors feared the worst — but let’s be real about what’s gonna happen here: Fulmer is going to miss the entire 2019 season and, in all likelihood, a good chunk of 2020 as well.

Tough break for Fulmer, one of the few good pitchers the Tigers had developed in some time.