After giving up six more runs, Javier Vazquez has to go

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It’s just not happening for Javier Vazquez.  

In allowing six runs over four innings Sunday in a loss to the Nationals, his ERA jumped to 7.55.  Even when Vazquez has struggled in the past, it’s usually come with a respectable or better WHIP.  This year, he’s at 1.91.  He’s struck out just 20 batters and walked 24 in 39 1/3 innings.  He’s given the Marlins all of one quality start in eight tries, and he did the absolute minimum that day, surrendering three runs over six innings in a loss to the Rockies.

Things seem hopeless at this point.  He hasn’t regained any of the miles per hour he lost off his fastball last summer, and in trying to throw harder, he’s lost command.  Since hitters no longer worry about his fastball, he’s not getting any swings and misses with his slider or curve.  All signs point to him being done unless he finds some of that velocity he lost.

Unfortunately, the Marlins are short on replacements.  They were feeling pretty good about their pitching depth entering the spring, but their sixth and seventh starters, Alex Sanabia and Sean West, are shut down with elbow injuries. 

I’m kind of surprised they didn’t try stretching Burke Badenhop out after sending him down to Triple-A New Orleans, but he’s back in the major league pen now.  They have stretched out reliever Jay Buente, and he’s been a nice surprise with a 1.91 ERA and a 32/6 K/BB ratio in five starts for New Orleans.  He’d probably be the choice if Vazquez gets bumped this week.  Tom Koehler is their other option. 

Kevin Millwood is still out there, and while he didn’t show much of a fastball in his stint in the Yankees system, he might be able to finesse his way to being an average fifth starter for the Marlins.  Giving him a look wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Rays moving spring camp due to damage caused by hurricane

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rays are relocating their spring base for 2023 due to extensive damage to team training facilities caused by Hurricane Ian.

The Rays have trained since 2009 in Port Charlotte, Florida, about 90 minutes south of St. Petersburg, and intend to explore several options before making a decision on where to hold spring training and play Grapefruit League games when camp opens.

The team and Charlotte County released a joint statement Thursday, saying damage to Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte can’t be repaired in time to host games this winter.

“Charlotte County supports the Rays efforts to secure alternative accommodations for 2023 spring training,” the statement said.

“We are all disappointed for the residents of Charlotte County and the fans there. The community is in the thoughts and hearts of the Rays, and the team will continue to support recovery efforts,” the statement added. “The Rays and Charlotte County intend to develop a restoration plan for Charlotte Sports Park in the coming weeks.”