Adrian Gonzalez leaves Dodgers-Australia exhibition game with lower-back tightness

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While you were sleeping, the Dodgers were playing the Australian national team in an exhibition game. Yep, just a harmless exhibition game:

 

Backs can get tight for any reason. But if, as I suspect, a lot of players hate the idea of flying halfway around the world to play baseball games like this, Gonzalez should do his fellow union members a solid and talk up how much sitting on airplane for 15 hours played into the back tightness. It may not be the truth, but your friends will thank you so much for saying it, Adrian.

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.