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MLB News and Notes: April 8, 2019

President Trump Moves To Block Cuba – MLB Deal

Unfortunately, politics and professional sports don’t always see eye to eye, and it appears that is the case when it comes to the groundbreaking deal that Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation agreed to in December. In the agreement, it would have allowed Cuban baseball players to come to play in the United States on work visas in exchange for a payment to the Cuban Baseball Federation. These payments are very similar in nature to the posting fees that MLB franchises pay when acquiring a player out of Japan or Korea. It appears, though, that President Trump’s administration deems that such payments would be essentially the same as giving a payment to the Cuban government. Since trade with the Cuban government is illegal under United States’ laws, the agreement between the two entities has basically been canceled. The goal for the agreement was to avoid the horror stories that are often attached to Cuban players who try to escape the country to be able to play baseball in the United States. Still, it appears that for the time being, politics and baseball aren’t helping one another out.

Bad News For Yankees And Severino

For a team that has been inundated with injuries to start the season, it appears that the New York Yankees are getting even worse news. Luis Severino, who has been shelved thus far in the early season, is slated to have an MRI and more examination for his arm. He has been on the injured list due to inflammation in his rotator cuff, but it appears that his rehab has not gone as smoothly as anticipated and team doctors want to get it checked out further. Severino is just one of several injuries that the Yankees have dealt with as players like Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar also find themselves on the injured list.

If Severino does have to miss extended time, it will be interesting to see if the Yankees check in on free agent Dallas Keuchel or whether they go with their young guys. At 5-4, their season has not gotten off to a horrible start (unlike their rivals, the Boston Red Sox), but their rotation, aside from JA Happ, Masahiro Tanaka, and James Paxton, is young and inexperienced. Throw in the injury history that Tanaka and Paxton have had and a little depth might not be the worst thing for the Bronx Bombers.

Giants Acquire Tyler Austin

On Monday, the San Francisco Giants announced that they have acquired Tyler Austin from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor leaguer Malique Ziegler. For Austin, he split time with the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins last year and hit .230/.287/.480 with 17 home runs, 47 runs batted in and 34 runs scored. He does strike out a lot as he struck out 95 times in 244 at-bats versus just 19 walks. Still, it gives the San Francisco Giants both depth at first base and another option in the outfield. Last year he was sent from the Yankees to the Twins in the Lance Lynn deal, but after the Twins acquired CJ Cron in the offseason, Austin became expendable. This season with the Twins he was just 1 for 4 with a double, but should hopefully find more playing time in San Francisco.

To Infinity And Beyond

It is not uncommon for Major League Baseball pitchers to have obnoxiously high ERA’s to start a season. Just think, for the average bullpen arm, if they come in and record just one out while giving up a run, they are already at an ERA of 27.00. Still, as time goes by and appearances mount, the ERA seemingly comes back to earth…unless you are Trevor Rosenthal. Sadly, nine batters in and he still has yet to record an out. In fact, stemming back to last season, he has five consecutive appearances…without recording an out. In an infamous kind of way, his stats are actually impressive this season. He has 4 games appeared, with an ERA of infinity. Technically, he has not thrown even a portion of an inning yet (because he hasn’t recorded an out) while giving up 4 hits, 4 walks, 1 hit by pitch, 7 earned runs, and 2 wild pitches. You have to feel bad for the guy, and ultimately he will hope that he can avoid the Rick Ankiel syndrome and will be able to regain his form and touch, but for the time being, he has been the type of pitcher that opposing managers love to see because chances are, they are going to get some runs out of it.

If it makes Trevor Rosenthal feel any better, he is not the only player that is flirting with the record books for futility. Stemming back to last season, Baltimore Orioles’ slugger Chris Davis is 0 for 44 and 0 for 23 this season. If he goes 0 for his next 2, he will tie the Major League record for consecutive at-bats without a hit. Maybe all he needs to do is face Trevor Rosenthal.

Clayton Kershaw Set To Return Next Weekend

It appears that Clayton Kershaw is expected to make his return this upcoming weekend for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is supposed to make a minor league start at Double-A Tulsa Tuesday, and if all things go well, he should rejoin the big league club. Kershaw has been dealing with shoulder inflammation in his throwing shoulder. Last season, Kershaw went 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA and 1.041 WHIP. In 161.1 innings, he had 155 strikeouts versus just 29 walks and allowed 17 home runs on the season. With the Dodgers’ offense on fire, they will just be that scarier of a team if they can get their ace back and throwing like he is capable of.

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