After initially holding out for a mulityear pact, Bruce Chen will return to the Royals on a one-year, $2 million contract, reports SI.com’s Jon Heyman.
Chen, a journeyman who debuted with the Braves in 1998, finished 12-7 with a 4.17 ERA for the Royals last season. He went 1-13 in stints with the Orioles, Rangers and Royals over the previous four seasons. His deal with the Royals includes $1.5 million in incentives.
The Royals, who probably had Kevin Pucetas fifth on their starting pitching depth chart just a few days ago, are now looking at a rotation of Chen, Jeff Francis and Luke Hochevar in some order, with Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro and Sean O’Sullivan fighting for two spots. There’s certainly no ace in the group, but at least they’re in far better position to survive until top prospects Mike Montgomery, Danny Duffy and John Lamb are ready.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.