Soup’s on in San Diego.
The Padres announced Tuesday that Cory Luebke would miss his start Wednesday with elbow tightness and that Jeff Suppan would be called up to pitch in his place against the Brewers.
Suppan, 37, was picked even though he had allowed nine runs and 17 hits in his 6 2/3 innings for Triple-A Tucson this season. The veteran right-hander last pitched in the majors with the Cardinals in 2010. He was 3-8 with a 5.06 ERA overall that season, but after Milwaukee released him, he was 3-6 with a 3.84 ERA for St. Louis.
Luebke’s loss would be huge for the Padres if it extends beyond a start or two. The 27-year-old is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA in five starts this season. Overall, he has a 3.30 ERA in 25 career starts, and he’s no Petco creation either, not with his 2.75 ERA in 88 1/3 innings on the road.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.