Must-click link: the vanishing screwball

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Screwballers are all but extinct. Their fire has gone out of the universe. Hector Santiago, my friend, is all that’s left of their religion.

Bruce Schoenfeld of the New York Times Magazine investigates the screwballers today. He talks to Santiago, past practitioners of the dark, screwballing art and tries to find out why the pitch is almost entirely a relic of history these days.

He also reminds us that the screwball made and resurrected a whole host of pitching careers:

When Carl Hubbell was released by the Tigers in 1928, he went to a minor-league team in Beaumont, Tex., perfected the screwball, then won 253 games for the Giants. Warren Spahn began using the pitch in 1956, at 34, with a career that appeared to be winding down. He recorded six more 20-victory seasons for the Braves. After going 4-19 from 1965 to 1967, Tug McGraw remade himself as a screwballer and pitched until 1984. “The screwball has saved a lot of pitchers,” says Ron Swoboda, a former teammate of McGraw’s. “When Tug found it, he found gold.”

Will anyone else find gold like that? It seems doubtful, as there there is now a widespread belief that the screwball is hard on the arm and thus opens pitchers up to injuries. But is this belief well-founded or is it, like so many other baseball beliefs, based on nothing more than gut feeling and received wisdom?

Schoenfeld investigated and got a pretty good answer. Click through to read the article and find out if there is an actual medical reason why we see so few screwballers these days.

Rays starter Jake Faria lands on disabled list with left oblique strain

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Jake Faria made a third-inning exit from his start Tuesday night against the Red Sox, shortly after allowing three-run homer to Mookie Betts, and the Rays have now placed the 24-year-old right-hander on the disabled list with a left oblique strain.

It sounds like it could be a 4-6 week absence.

Faria has turned in some impressive performances this season, but his last three outings haven’t been so hot and he holds a rough 5.48 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and 37/22 K/BB ratio over 47 2/3 total frames for the year.

Tampa Bay now has two healthy starters: Chris Archer and Blake Snell. The extreme bullpening shall continue, haters be damned.

Vidal Nuno has been called up from Triple-A Durham and could see some action out of the rotation. He was sporting a 3.57 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 37/3 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings (seven starts, one relief appearance) this season at the Triple-A level.