Bryan Bullington finally notched his first big-league win with eight shutout innings against the Yankees on August 15, eight years after the Pirates selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft, but now it looks like that may prove to be his only major-league victory.
Designated for assignment by the Royals last week, Bullington has signed with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan and the 30-year-old right-hander leaves behind a career record of 1-9 with a 5.62 ERA in 81.2 innings as a major leaguer.
Bullington is one of just three pitchers selected No. 1 overall to win fewer than 15 games in the majors. The other two are Stephen Strasburg, whose career is on hold following elbow surgery, and Brien Taylor, whose career was ruined by a shoulder injury in the minors.
Bullington was picked one spot ahead of B.J. Upton in 2002, but the third (Chris Gruler), fourth (Adam Loewen), and fifth (Clint Everts) picks that year have also made essentially zero impact in the majors.
The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.
We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”
Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.