Blue Jays making changes to coaching staff

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Coming off a disappointing 74-88 season, the Blue Jays are making some changes to their coaching staff.

The team announced this evening that hitting coach Chad Mottola and first base coach Dwayne Murphy will not be back next season. Murphy, who has been with the team since 2008 and also served as hitting coach from 2010-2012, is retiring as a major league coach.

Mottola was a first-time hitting coach in 2013 under John Gibbons. The Blue Jays finished eighth in the AL with 712 runs scored and ninth with a .729 OPS, which isn’t too far off from where they were last season. Ultimately, injuries and underperformance in the starting rotation were the biggest factors for them being unable to meet the billing as preseason favorites.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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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.