The Indians announced this afternoon that they signed left-handed reliever Scott Downs to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Downs will receive a base salary of $800,000 if he makes the team out of spring training.
Downs landed a one-year, $4.25 million contract with the White Sox last offseason, but he posted an ugly 6.08 ERA over 38 appearances with the club before being released in early July. He latched on with the Royals from there, but was limited to just 17 appearances due to a neck injury and put up a 3.14 ERA and 3/5 K/BB ratio over 14 1/3 innings. Kansas City did not include him on their postseason roster.
Downs turns 39 in March and saw a sharp drop in velocity last season, so he might be done as an effective late-inning pitcher in the majors, but it’s worth a shot for the Indians to still see if he has something left in the tank.
In case you missed it over the weekend, the New York Yankees suffered yet another huge blow when another huge star went on the injured list. The star: Aaron Judge, who strained his oblique during Saturday’s 9-2 win over the Royals.
Yesterday the Yankees placed him on the injured list. In so doing, Yankees manager Aaron Boone called it a “pretty significant strain in there.” The team did not offer a timeline, but Boone said they’ll monitor Judge for a couple of weeks to see where he is. Oblique strains, however, can cause a player to miss a lot of time. Four to six weeks is not unheard of for even moderate oblique strains. Guys with major strains have missed months.
Judge is the Yankees’ 13th player currently on the injured list and is the 14th Yankees player to visit it overall on the young season. Joining him there at the moment :
It’s an All-Star team’s worth of injuries. It’s such a good group of players that Ellsbury couldn’t even make the starting lineup of the all-injured team.
Though we often ignore it in season-long narratives of successful and unsuccessful teams, choosing to focus on great or poor performances, the fact of the matter is that team health is almost always a big, big factor in who wins and who loses. No one is going to cry for the Yankees here, of course, but at some point there are just too many injuries to overcome. One has to wonder if New York has reached that point yet.