Mets right-hander Matt Harvey was already the logical favorite to start for the National League since the All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field in New York this year, but this news pretty much seals it.
According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, the Cardinals have rearranged their rotation so that ace right-hander Adam Wainwright will start two times before the All-Star break. Because he’s now lined up to pitch next Sunday, he will not pitch in the All-Star Game two days later. The American League squad will be happy to hear that.
Wainwright was arguably Harvey’s biggest competition for the starting assignment, as he’s 11-5 with a 2.36 ERA and 117/13 K/BB ratio over 133 2/3 innings this season. Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, Jordan Zimmermann, and Patrick Corbin are also having excellent seasons, but it’s hard to see Giants manager Bruce Bochy going with anyone other than Harvey at this point.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.