Josh Collmenter struggled this spring and has coughed up 11 runs in seven innings through two starts, leading to speculation that he might not be long for the Diamondbacks’ rotation despite a very solid rookie season that saw him throw 154 innings with a 3.38 ERA.
Kirk Gibson confirmed to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com that Collmenter will make his next scheduled start Thursday, but declined to say that the right-hander’s rotation spot was safe beyond that.
Collmenter told Gilbert that he’s struggling mentally as much as physically by “trying to think of too many things rather than just throwing the ball” and “it becomes clogged up with thoughts.”
Collmenter rarely tops 90 miles per hour with his fastball, has an odd over-the-top delivery, and was never considered a top prospect in the minors, all of which played a role in his not reaching the majors until age 25 and may also lead to him having a shorter leash now that he’s there. Toss in the fact that the Diamondbacks have several very promising young pitching prospects close to being MLB-ready and he might be pitching for his job Thursday versus Atlanta.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.