Add another name to the list of the hard-throwing young pitchers needing Tommy John elbow surgery, as Dodgers reliever Chris Withrow has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is headed under the knife.
Withrow has been fantastic since debuting for the Dodgers last season at age 24, posting a 2.73 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 56 innings while holding opponents to a .157 batting average. It doesn’t get much more dominant than that, especially when combined with a 95.7-mph average fastball.
Now he’ll be out until at least mid-2015 and the potentially extra-bad news for Withrow is that he was optioned back to Triple-A on May 21 to make room for Hyun-Jin Ryu on the 25-man roster and wasn’t called back up before being shut down with the injury. Which means, unless someone files a grievance on his behalf, Withrow won’t collect MLB service time or MLB paychecks while he’s rehabbing.
UPDATE: Withrow is indeed now on the MLB disabled list, so the above scenario won’t be an issue.
The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.
Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.
There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.
That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.
The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.
One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.
Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.