Billy Burns
Getty Images

Yankees sign Billy Burns to minors deal

2 Comments

It’s been a minute since Billy Burns was at the top of his game. The 2015 Rookie of the Year nominee hasn’t appeared in a major league game since the middle of the 2017 season, but a promising surge in Triple-A last year seems to have caught the eye of at least one major-league team this winter. Per reports from Brandon Warne of Zone Coverage and Fancred’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees inked the veteran outfielder to yet another minors pact for 2019.

Burns, 29, spent the entirety of his 2018 run with the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate, slashing a respectable, if underwhelming .255/.314/.316 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 18 chances), and 36 RBI through 425 plate appearances. While he’s not all that far removed from his .294-average, 26-stolen base totals with the A’s, there’s nothing to suggest that he’s capable of supplanting any member of the Yankees’ starting outfield trio of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and Aaron in 2019 (with Brett Gardner and Clint Frazier waiting in the wings if Stanton is utilized at DH). At best, he’ll provide the club with some solid minors depth and a serviceable pinch-running option, should they choose to recall him from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at any point during the season.

Beyond the outfield, the rest of the Yankees’ roster is still up for revision. GM Brian Cashman said Friday that recently-acquired shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will start for the team in 2019, suggesting that any plans they might have to acquire free agent Manny Machado would see the star infielder shifted to third base. Sans Machado, the Yankees are expected to fill out the remaining gaps in their infield with Miguel Andújar at the hot corner, Gleyber Torres at the keystone, and Luke Voit at first base.

Cole Hamels done for year after just 1 start for Braves

Cole Hamels triceps injury
Getty Images
7 Comments

ATLANTA — After making just one start for the Atlanta Braves, Cole Hamels is done for the season.

Hamels reported shortly before the start of a four-game series against the Miami Marlins that he didn’t feel like he could get anything on the ball. The left-hander was scheduled to make his second start Tuesday after struggling throughout the year to overcome shoulder and triceps issues.

The Braves placed Hamels on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sept. 18,, but that was a mere formality. General manager Alex Anthopoulos already contacted Major League Baseball about replacing Hamels in the team’s postseason player pool.

“Cole knows himself and his body,” Anthopoulos said. “You trust the player at that point when he says he can’t go.”

The Braves began Monday with a three-game lead in the NL East .and primed for their third straight division title.

Even with that success, Atlanta has struggled throughout the shortened 60-game series to put together a consistent rotation beyond Cy Young contender Max Fried and rookie Ian Anderson.

Expected ace Mike Soroka went down with a season-ending injury, former All-Star Mike Foltynewicz was demoted after just one start, and Sean Newcomb also was sent to the alternate training site after getting hammered in his four starts.

The Braves have used 12 starters this season.

Anthopoulos had hoped to land another top starter at the trade deadline but the only deal he was able to make was acquiring journeyman Tommy Milone from the Orioles. He’s on the injured list after getting hammered in three starts for the Braves, giving up 22 hits and 16 runs in just 9 2/3 innings.

“There’s no doubt that our starting pitching has not performed to the level we wanted it to or expected it to,” Anthopoulos said. “I know that each year you never have all parts of your club firing. That’s why depth is so important.”

Hamels, who signed an $18 million, one-year contract last December, reported for spring training with a sore shoulder stemming from an offseason workout.

When camps were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hamels was able to take a more cautious approach to his rehabilitation. But a triceps issue sidelined again before the delayed start of the season in July.

The Braves hoped Hamels would return in time to provide a boost for the playoffs. He also was scheduled to start the final game of the regular season Sunday, putting him in position to join the postseason rotation behind Fried and Anderson.

Now, Hamels is done for the year, his Braves’ career possibly ending after he made that one appearance last week in Baltimore. He went 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits, with two strikeouts and one walk in a loss to the Orioles.

Hamels reported no problems immediately after his start, but he didn’t feel right after a bullpen session a couple of days ago.

“You’re not going to try to talk the player into it,” Anthopoulos said. “When he says he isn’t right, that’s all we need to hear.”

Atlanta recalled right-hander Bryse Wilson to replace Hamels on the 28-man roster. The Braves did not immediately name a starter for Tuesday’s game.

With Hamels out, the Braves will apparently go with Fried (7-0, 1.96), Anderson (3-1, 2.36) and Kyle Wright (2-4, 5.74) as their top three postseason starters.

Hamels is a four-time All-Star with a career record of 163-122. He starred on Philadelphia’s World Series-winning team in 2008 and also pitched for Texas and the Chicago Cubs.

Last season, Hamels went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 starts for the Cubs.