Athletics left-hander Brett Anderson was forced to cut his start short on Friday after suffering a left shoulder strain prior to the second inning. He expended 15 pitches against the Blue Jays in the first inning, then was seen grabbing at his shoulder during warm-ups as he prepared to take the mound again in the second. The team has yet to announce a clear timetable for his return, though he’ll likely join fellow starter Andrew Triggs on the disabled list sometime this weekend.
The 30-year-old southpaw has been relatively injury-free this spring, despite missing significant time last year with a lower back strain and a blister on his throwing hand. He left Friday’s start with an 0-2 record in four outings and a 7.63 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and 4.6 SO/9 in 15 1/3 innings.
Anderson was swiftly replaced by right-hander Josh Lucas following his departure in the second inning. Lucas tossed 3 2/3 innings of two-hit, one-run, seven-strikeout ball before the bullpen took over in the fifth. The A’s built up to a two-run lead behind their pitching staff with Dustin Fowler’s first career home run and a pair of RBI doubles from Fowler and Josh Phegley in the seventh. They currently lead the Blue Jays 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth.
The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.
The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.
Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.
It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.
He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.