What does a 25-year-old reigning MVP get in his first year of arbitration eligibility? Apparently $8 million, which is what Buster Posey and the Giants settled on for a one-year contract to avoid arbitration. As a “Super Two” player Posey has four years of arbitration eligibility rather than the usual three, so he remains under…
CLEVELAND—T.J. McFarland was scheduled to start for Norfolk on Sunday against Scranton. However, he was scratched from the start in case he’s needed by the Orioles.
McFarland injured his left knee last weekend and has been on the minor league disabled list.
Manager Buck Showalter said that McFarland’s knee was fine. Andy Oliver was named to replace McFarland, but the game was postponed. The Orioles did contemplate adding McFarland for Sunday’s game because they had no fresh long reliever since Vance Worley pitched 4 ½ innings on Saturday.
“Just to be on the safe side. He still could pitch an inning there if he had to. Just want to make sure we’re covered. There was some thought about today, but it didn’t happen,” Showalter said.
Atop the majors with a 23.4 walk percentage, Bryce Harper is being pitched around more often than anyone this season. Both that approach from opposing teams and his struggles with not getting pitches to hit have been well-documented.
The St. Louis Cardinals, however, have been an outlier this season when it comes to how they've handled Harper. He's only walked twice in 25 plate appearances against them. That's an eight percent walk rate, about a third of his season average. He's struck out in 32 percent of his PAs against the Cardinals (8 SO in 25 PA) - much higher than his 18 percent season average - and is batting just .130 through six games vs. the Cards. Only the Mets have held him to a lower OPS than the .591 mark he has against St. Louis.
The Cardinals have been pitching to Harper and it hasn't hurt them all that much. He has three hits in six games and two are homers, but both were solo shots.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny spoke about the team's approach to Harper this weekend.
"Typically, a solo home run shouldn't beat you," Matheny said. "We do pitch him carefully. We have in the past and we'll continue to. A lot of it has to do with how he's swinging at the time and what the matchups look like and who's hitting around him. All that goes into the decision."
"We've had a little success against him, not that that's always going to continue because he's a good hitter, but when we had him at home we were pitching him tough and we were able to get outs. When you're able to do that, you try to stick with the approach that's working."
A 13-year MLB veteran before he went into coaching, Matheny was a catcher during the days of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, and then when Barry Bonds was setting records with the San Francisco Giants.
Matheny knows there comes a time when hitters can get so hot there is just no point in pitching to them.
"Who's a guy we want to stay away from, is there somebody in the lineup you don't want to beat you and is there enough depth to where you can't do that?… Bonds had good players around him, but when he was hot there were just times where he just wasn't going to [allowed to] beat you. I could see Harper being viewed the same way," Matheny said.
"There were times in Barry Bonds' career was the best player on the planet and you couldn't get him out… There were times when Sammy was the hottest hitter in baseball and you just weren't going to let him beat you. I don't care who was hitting behind him. This kid, obviously he can be included in those kinds of conversations."
Ben Standig contributed to this report
CLEVELAND—Ubaldo Jimenez is listed as the projected starter for Thursday when the Orioles conclude a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox.
Jimenez, who didn’t make it through the second inning of Saturday’s game, has allowed 68 hits and walked 30 in 52 1/3 innings. Three of the six runs he allowed on Saturday were unearned, but his ERA is now an unsightly 6.36.
Manager Buck Showalter didn’t provide a loud endorsement of the struggling Jimenez.
“He’s the projected starter for Thursday. We don’t have an off day. It’s just general practice,” Showalter said. ”I’m the projected manager for today, but who knows if that will happen. Just about everything is projected. What is it? … There’s some expression that we’re all day to day.”
Vance Worley, who threw 4 1/3 innings in relief of Jimenez, could take his place on Thursday.
NOTES: Hunter Harvey, who is recovering from sports hernia surgery in Sarasota, is throwing from 90 feet. … Yovani Gallardo felt good, a day after his simulated game. After a work day on Monday or Tuesday, he’ll pitch for Frederick on Thursday. … Four weeks after he suffered a fracture in his left foot, J.J. Hardy has been walking without his boot and he’ll have another CT scan, which could take place in Sarasota, where he’s been while the Orioles have been away, or back in Baltimore.