Jaime Garcia throws off mound, set for “normal offseason”

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch has an encouraging update on Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia, who’s trying to avoid surgery after being shut down with a shoulder injury.

Garcia threw 25 pitches off a mound yesterday and general manager John Mozeliak told Goold that he’s on track for a “normal offseason.”

There are still some big hurdles for Garcia to clear, but for now at least the Cardinals can pencil him into the Opening Day rotation and according to Mozeliak “the word surgery never came up” in discussions with the team’s medical staff this week.

Phillies promote Chris Young to pitching coach position

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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.