7:15 p.m. EDT update: Now it’s officially official, apparently. The Angels have once again announced that Weaver has been placed on the DL and Richards has been called up.
6:30 p.m. EDT update: The Angels have asked reporters to disregard the release they sent out announcing that Weaver was placed on the DL and Garrett Richards was recalled. Apparently, they’re still deliberating the move.
Those fearing a serious knee injury for Jered Weaver last night got some good news, but the Angels ace wasn’t able to avoid the disabled list on Tuesday. The Angels deactivated him due to what was termed a lower back strain and spasms.
Weaver was off to a 6-1 start with a 2.61 ERA this season. It’s the first time in five years that he has gone on the DL. He last missed time in April 2007 due to biceps tendinitis.
In a minor surprise, replacing Weaver on the roster is Garrett Richards. Richards was the expected choice to take Weaver’s place in the rotation this weekend, but it figured the Angels would call up a reliever until then. Instead, they apparently want Richards available out of the bullpen tonight in case they need a long man. Since the Angels needed nine innings from their bullpen Monday, they’ll be limited in what they have available tonight.
The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.
The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.
Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.
It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.
He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.