The Rangers had the idea to make reliever Matt Bush a starter this year. That idea has now been dismissed, as Evan Grant reports that Texas will send Bush back to the bullpen.
Smart move, and not just because he hasn’t done well in his spring starts thus far. For one thing, he has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in his two years in the bigs and only started one game in the minors, way back in 2010. For another thing, he had shoulder surgery back in October and, even if it was relatively minor, you don’t want to substantially increase the workload of a guy coming off of shoulder surgery. For another thing, he throws a fastball and a curveball, and that’s basically it, and that’s not going to get the job done as a starter.
Putting Bush back in the pen will end any remaining talk about the Rangers using a six-man rotation. It leaves the rotation as Cole Hamels, Matt Moore, Doug Fister, Mike Minor and either Martin Perez, if he’s healthy to start the season, or Bartolo Colon if he’s not. Grant says that Jesse Chavez could be used as a swingman to spot start or take over if Perez is hurt and/or the 44-year-old Colon is ineffective.
After returning to baseball following years in the wilderness — and time in prison — Bush was fantastic for the Rangers in 2016. He took a step back in 2017, though, posting a 3.78 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 58/19 in 52.1 innings. His K rate was up but his walk rate and hit rate were too, basically. The Rangers are obviously hoping that his fixed shoulder will help him whip back into 2016 form. He’s way more likely to do that as a reliever.
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.
It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.
Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.