We knew that the Red Sox were planning to send a scout to watch right-hander Javier Vazquez pitch in the Puerto Rican Winter League last night, but they weren’t alone.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Rays, Nationals and Royals were also in attendance. For what it’s worth, the box score indicates that Vazquez pitched well, giving up just three hits over six shutout innings while striking out five and walking none. Rosenthal hears that he was clocked at 93 mph.
Vazquez, 36, had a 3.69 ERA and 162/50 K/BB ratio over 192 2/3 innings with the Marlins during his last stint in the majors in 2011. Given the crazy money being thrown around to starters this winter, he shouldn’t have a problem getting a guaranteed major league deal if he wants to return. Word is that he may not make a final decision until after he pitches for Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, but he has a preference to pitch on the East Coast.
The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.
We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”
Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.