Spring training has started off with a freakin’ whimper for the Mariners. Yesterday it was announced that Hisashi Iwakuma would miss 4-6 weeks with a finger injury. Today: Taijuan Walker is said to be suffering shoulder soreness which will be limit him early in camp.
Walker debuted last summer and is expected to be a big part of the Mariners’ rotation this year. That the bigger part — Iwakuma — is already down means this setback for Walker is doubly painful.
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.
According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.