Old lefties are like zombies or something: you just can’t kill them. Take Ron Villone for example. He’s played for 12 teams in 15 seasons and aside from a little stretch which coincided with him doing things that got him named in the Mitchell Report, he’s never been much better than average.
But he throws with his left hand instead of his right, and that’s just the sort of thing that appeals to people. It appeals to the Nats at least, who have reportedly signed him to some sort of contract because Bill Ladson of MLB.com is reporting that he’s working out in their spring training facility as we speak.
The Nats, you may recall, cut Villone just a month ago. I guess watching Jason Marquis pull that seven-batters-faced-no-batters-retired performance out of his back pocket yesterday afternoon made ’em think twice about getting reacquainted with an old flame.
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.