Dodgers right-hander Brandon McCarthy had to leave Saturday’s start with elbow tightness and tests have revealed the worst-case scenario. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that McCarthy has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, which means that he’s almost certainly headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery.
McCarthy turned a strong finish with the Yankees last season into a four-year, $48 million contract with the Dodgers over the winter. Some saw that as a risky deal, but his injury history has all been about his shoulder until now. McCarthy had a 5.87 ERA with nine home runs allowed over his first four starts with the Dodgers this season.
McCarthy has a torn ligament in his elbow and now has a lengthy rehab process in front of him, but at least he still has his trademark sense of humor:
We here at HardballTalk look forward to seeing McCarthy back to full strength next season.
The Dodgers are also without Hyun-Jin Ryu at the moment and it’s hard to count on Brett Anderson to stay healthy, so the back-end of their rotation has some big questions. Scott Baker made a spot-start against the Padres yesterday and Joe Wieland and Zach Lee linger as alternatives. Similar to the Cardinals, they could eventually look to the trade market, with Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels a logical possibility.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.