Braves pitching prospect Billy Bullock has been suspended 50 games following a second violation of the minor league drug prevention and treatment program for a “drug of abuse.”
Bullock was Minnesota’s second-round pick in 2009 out of the University of Florida, but the Twins traded him to the Braves for the ability to keep Rule 5 pick Scott Diamond in the minors instead of the big-league roster in 2011.
Bullock throws in the mid-90s and has impressive strikeout totals at every level, totaling 283 in 218 career innings, but he’s also walked 6.0 batters per nine frames and was a mess between Double-A and Triple-A this year.
Diamond, meanwhile, has developed into a middle-of-the-rotation starter for the Twins with a 3.82 ERA in 212 career innings in the majors.
It’s been one issue after the next for Indians reliever Andrew Miller, and on Saturday, the left-hander landed back on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation. According to comments made by club manager Terry Francona, Miller’s knee has been a problem since the start of the year. The team has yet to determine a concrete timetable for his return to the bullpen.
Miller, 33, hasn’t looked like his usual sub-2.00 ERA, 2.0+ fWAR self this season, though he paired a 4.40 ERA and 6.3 BB/9 with an impressive 14.4 SO/9 across his first 14 1/3 innings. A left hamstring strain and minor back injury hampered his effectiveness on the mound, though this appears to be a more serious issue — especially given the five weeks he spent recovering from a tendon injury in his right knee last year.
In corresponding moves, the Indians designated right-hander Oliver Drake for assignment and recalled Triple-A right-handers Ben Taylor and Evan Marshall. Taylor, 25, was working on a 3.63 ERA, 1.0 BB/9 and 11.4 SO/9 through 17 1/3 innings in Triple-A Columbus, while 28-year-old Marshall turned in a terrific 0.77 ERA, 0.8 BB/9 and 6.9 SO/9 over his first 11 2/3 innings. Neither reliever has pitched more than a handful of innings at the big league level in 2018.