Cardinals place Felipe Lopez on DL with elbow injury

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Felipe Lopez pitching.jpgThe Cardinals have placed infielder Felipe Lopez on the 15-day disabled list with a Grade 1 strain of his right elbow, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Lopez had been sidelined since last week due to discomfort in the elbow, but it’s amazing how much this has flown under the radar considering that he threw 21 pitches in the 20-inning marathon against the Mets last Saturday.

It’s only natural that some will assume there’s some sort of connection between the two, but Tony La Russa tells Goold that he doesn’t believe that’s the case.

“I don’t think so,” La Russa said. “If you looked at his throws (from the
mound) they were less stressful than from shortstop or third base.

In fact, according to what LaRussa told Matthew Leach of MLB.com, Lopez felt discomfort in his elbow as early as April 11 — nearly a week before he pitched against the Mets — but he didn’t notify the team about the problem until two days later.

I really want to hop on my soapbox and call Lopez a bonehead here — remember, he even threw a couple curveballs on the bad elbow, as entertaining as it was — but it’s really hard to say that whatever soreness or discomfort he was feeling on April 11 didn’t feel any different than normal soreness that a player deals with throughout the course of a season. It’s a fine line. So while I won’t call Lopez a reckless jerk here, you can bet that La Russa will think twice — or at least ask the proper questions — before allowing a position player to pitch again.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.