Hiroki Kuroda is the last pitcher standing in the Yankees’ injury wrecked original starting rotation, but now the team has decided to skip the 39-year-old’s next turn in the rotation.
However, it’s apparently not injury related, as general manager Brian Cashman revealed to George King of the New York Post that manager Joe Girardi “told me that he wanted to give him some extra rest.”
Kuroda faded down the stretch last season and has already logged 147 innings at age 39, so “extra rest” is certainly plausible. On the other hand, last month Girardi hinted that they’d be counting on Kuroda to assume a normal workload due to the team’s other veteran starters going down with injuries.
Kuroda finished last season by going 0-6 with a 6.56 ERA, but this year he has a 3.66 ERA since July 1 and has thrown 110 or more pitches just once all season.
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.