As if Ian Stewart’s Cubs career wasn’t off to a bad enough start thanks to a .201 batting average through 55 games now the third baseman acquired from the Rockies in December is on the disabled list with a sore left wrist.
Stewart dealt with similar wrist problems last year and was a late scratch from yesterday’s lineup, with Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reporting that he’ll be examined by a specialist and “may have nerve damage.”
That would obviously knock him out for an extended period, but in the meantime the Cubs called up journeyman Luis Valbuena from Triple-A and have him starting at third base this afternoon. Valbuena failed to produce for the Mariners and Indians in past years, but he’s still just 26 years old and has hit .304 with solid on-base skills and a little pop in 279 career games at Triple-A.
Chris Young joined the Phillies as their assistant pitching coach last offseason. This offseason he’s getting a promotion: the Phillies just named as their main (um, top? lead? alpha?) pitching coach for the 2019 season. He replaces Rick Kranitz.
Ken Rosenthal, who reported the promotion, says that the Phillies didn’t necessarily want to shake up their pitching coach situation, but that since several clubs wanted to hire Young away, it was either promote him to the top job or lose him. That’s bad news for Kranitz, but he remains under contract for 2019 and will, in the meantime, be allowed to interview elsewhere.
The Phillies pitching staff ranked 11th in runs allowed in the National League in 2018. They were tenth the year before that, but some early season uncertainty and mismanagement by Gabe Kapler and a late season collapse served to hide what was, for most of the season, a bit of a better staff than the year before. The Phillies obviously credit Young for that and want to keep him in the fold.