D-Train back on track in the Tigers' rotation?

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After capturing a spot in the Tigers’ rotation this spring Dontrelle Willis made his 2010 debut Thursday with a Quality Start, allowing two runs over six innings in a no-decision. Willis has come a long way after not being able to throw the ball over the plate for the past two seasons, tossing 54 of 88 pitches for strikes and walking just two batters, but there’s plenty of reason to be skeptical that he’ll reemerge as an impact pitcher.
For one thing, the spring performance that earned him a rotation spot included an awful 14/12 K/BB ratio in 22 innings. Beyond that, his velocity was underwhelming Thursday and a Royals lineup that included left-handed bats David DeJesus, Scott Podsednik, Rick Ankiel, and Chris Getz was just about the most favorable matchup possible for Willis. He also strung together back-to-back Quality Starts early on last year before falling apart.

Padres sign Aaron Loup to a one-year deal

Aaron Loup
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Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.

Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.