Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb may miss yet another Opening Day assignment due to injury, this time a groin strain that flared up during his final Grapefruit League start against that Twins on Saturday.
Cobb breezed through the first inning, setting down the first three batters on three quick outs, but was promptly pulled before he threw a single pitch in the second. Following the game, he was diagnosed with a mild right groin strain, nothing so severe that it would compromise the right-hander’s 2019 campaign, but just serious enough that it may keep him off the mound during the team’s season opener against the Yankees on March 28.
The 31-year-old is coming off of a tough year in Baltimore, one in which he pitched to a disheartening 5-15 record in 28 starts with a 4.90 ERA, 2.5 BB/9, 6.0 SO/9, and 1.4 fWAR through 152 1/3 innings. This would have marked the first Opening Day assignment of his seven-year career in the majors. In the event that he’s unable to take it, it looks like the Orioles are prepping fellow righty Andrew Cashner in his place.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.