On Monday, Royals second baseman Omar Infante took a Heath Bell fastball to the face. It was a scary incident as the Royals were worried about their infielder potentially having suffered a broken jaw and/or a concussion. Luckily, tests turned up negative, and Infante is back in the lineup three games later.
Infante has had a rough go of it after signing a four-year, $30.25 million deal with the Royals in December. He battled elbow and shoulder problems throughout the spring, playing in only eight exhibition games. Between the start of the regular season and his injury, Infante has a .348/.423/.348 slash line in 26 plate appearances. In his absence, Danny Valencia and Johnny Giovotella each made a start.
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.