Earlier this week, the Nats made another round of releases:
• LHPs Jared Johnson, Jose Jimenez
• OF Kameron Esthay
• RHPs Colin Morse, Jake Cousins, Alec Maley
That may be it for a while. Time for your annual reminder that there will be a dozen or so names for whom we’ll have no information. XST? Retired? Injured? Maybe, maybe, and maybe. My personal theory is that if they’re not on any published roster, MiLB doesn’t feel the need to pass any information along (unless they’re a high-profile draft pick, natch).
Yesterday, MiLB announced the ballyhooed “three-batters-faced” rule would apply to AA and AAA this season, along with a reduction in the number of allowed mound visits, and a new extra-innings rule that essentially prevents pitchers from becoming the free runner.
I would agree with the boys in Durham that the anti-LaRussa directive (for relief pitcher usage, not DUIs) won’t matter much, if at all. Teams did not do the sacrifice-intentional-walk-let’s-hope-for-a-DP sequence with the extra-innings rule last season and they aren’t likely to send out a pitcher they don’t think can finish the inning this season.
Why? Because those kind of tactics may win ballgames, but the goal for most of the minors is development. Folks who go to minor-league games have probably noticed that you generally don’t see pitching changes mid-inning unless someone’s hurt, hit their pitch limit, or getting lit up.
Just as teams tend to let young pitchers work their way out of trouble in the lower levels, they’ll likely continue that practice and may even—*gasp*—let reliever pitch multiple innings more often. Given the trend of “openers,” and other such what-is-old-is-new-again pitching concepts (e.g. swingmen, long relievers, piggybacking, etc.), this rule would make it easier to unlearn the “roles” bullshit has gone on for far too long.