The Tigers’ bullpen was stretched thin today after starter Robbie Ray lasted just 3 1/3 innings against the Rangers, so position player Danny Worth got a chance to make his first career relief appearance. He was awesome.
Worth showed off a surprisingly good knuckleball in a scoreless inning of work. After allowing a leadoff single to Chris Gimenez, he struck out Michael Choice swinging before getting Luis Sardinas to line out and Leonys Martin looking on a called third strike to end the frame. Matt Slovin of MLB.com notes that Worth is the first Tigers’ position player to pitch a full inning since Willie Smith did it on September 25, 1963.
Check it out below:
It looks like Worth has a pretty good backup plan if his career as a position player fizzles out.
With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.
It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.
Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.
Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.