Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal writes that Mike Pelfrey’s “propensity for licking his hand is unrivaled in baseball.”
So naturally Costa tracked how many times Pelfrey actually licked his hand while on the mound for Tuesday’s start against the Marlins at Citi Field and the final tally was 89.
And he only pitched six innings, so Pelfrey’s pitch-to-lick ratio was 116-to-89. Pelfrey then explained himself:
It’s something I’ve always done. I think it becomes an issue where people tell me, instead of licking my hand, it looks like I’m licking my whole arm. That’s why it gets brought up. Guys have talked about, “Ahhh, you’re eating your whole hand.”
Pelfrey also explained that the added moisture helps him grip the ball and all the licking was legal, according to umpire Fieldin Culbreth, because “it is permissible for a pitcher to lick his hand as long as he wipes it on his uniform immediately afterward.”
But as rotation-mate R.A. Dickey told Costa: “Mike is a little bit over the top.”
Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.
Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.
While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.