Diamondbacks reliever J.J. Putz stuck out his pitching hand in an attempt to field Phillies utility infielder Kevin Frandsen’s grounder in the bottom of the seventh inning tonight. The ball ricoheted off of Putz’s hand to shortstop Cliff Pennington, who threw to first to retire Frandsen and end the inning. Putz retired the side in order, but paid the price for his attempt to play defender.
Via Twitter, Nick Piecoro reports that Putz will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a dislocated his right pinky finger and a small laceration.
Putz, now 36 years old, was already on the disabled list for 46 games earlier this year with a sprained UCL, a strained flexor pronator, and ulnar neuritis. When he has been on the field, he has pitched well, owning a 2.51 ERA in 28.2 innings of work this season.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.