Al Alburquerque has pitched well for the Tigers this season, posting a 3.14 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 14.1 innings, but his control has been an issue with 13 walks and after three straight outings allowing a run they’ve sent the right-hander back to Triple-A.
Spotty control is nothing new for Alburquerque, but his amazing bat-missing ability has always been enough to make up for it. He has a 1.90 ERA and 14.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 64 career appearances, so the demotion is certainly an eyebrow raiser.
No doubt manager Jim Leyland and company just got sick of watching him walk nine batters in his last six appearances, but Alburquerque against Triple-A hitters will just be unfair.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.