Dan Duquette’s latest move as the Orioles’ new executive vice president of baseball operations is hiring a sports psychologist who, according to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com will “provide mental-performance services.”
Ghiroli reports that the sports psychologist, Seth Kaplan, will focus on working with pitchers and Duquette noted that he’ll attempt to improve “mental toughness.”
Kaplan, who’s previously worked with the military, has already met individually with most of the pitching staff and based on Brian Matusz’s collapse last season he’d presumably be a big part of the plans.
Zach Britton seemed enthused about the hiring, saying: “We never had anybody we could really go to or talk to before.” Considering even a highly paid sports psychologist would probably earn only a fraction of the MLB minimum salary it seems like a worthwhile investment.
Bad news for the Cubs’ Yu Darvish: The right-hander is headed back to the disabled list with right triceps tendinitis, the team announced Saturday. It’s the second such assignment for Darvish this season, but the first time he’s been sidelined with arm issues. Neither the severity of his injury nor a concrete timeframe for his recovery has been revealed yet, but the move is retroactive to May 23 and will allow him to come off the DL by June 2, assuming all goes well.
Prior to the injury, Darvish went 1-3 in eight starts with a 4.95 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 through 40 innings. Needless to say, these aren’t the kind of results the Cubs were hoping to see after inking the righty to a six-year, $126 million contract back in February, though the circumstances affecting his performances appear to have largely been out of his control. He missed a start in early May after coming down with the flu and has struggled to pitch beyond the fifth inning in five of his eight starts to date.
The Cubs recalled left-hander Randy Rosario from Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move. Rosario has yet to amass more than five career innings in the majors, but has impressed at Triple-A so far this year: he maintained an 0.97 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 through 19 1/3 innings in 2018. As for Darvish’s next scheduled turn in the rotation, Tyler Chatwood is lined up to take the mound when the Cubs face off against the Giants in the series finale on Sunday. A starter for Monday night’s game has yet to be determined.