Two big pieces of pitching news out of Houston today. First of all, Houston announced its roster move to make room for newly-acquired Travis Blackley in the bullpen. Right-hander Edgar Gonzalez was designated for assignment, which opens up a spot on the 40-man and the 25-man roster for Blackley to be active tonight.
That also means my idea for a double long-relief bullpen to take the relief game back to its 70's roots won't happen. Instead, Houston just upgraded from EdGon to Blackley, giving them another lefty in the bullpen. it also means that Blackley might be the next pitcher plugged into the rotation once Erik Bedard goes down with his inevitable injury or Bud Norris gets flipped in the inevitable trade.
There is still a chance that Gonzalez clears waivers and gets outrighted to Oklahoma City, but if he gets claimed, who becomes the first pitcher called up in the event of an injury? Kyuss94 guessed Rudy Owens, but I wonder how long before Jarred Cosart gets tabbed. Could Blackley get pushed into the rotation and Cosart become the long reliever while he's in this tandem starter structure?
The other big piece of news is that Alex White will undergo Tommy John surgery on his elbow. That puts an end to his 2013 season and means he may not be back for the start of the 2014 season, either. It's disappointing news and a little unexpected. As Anthony said in an email thread about these moves, "I really didn't think White would get Tommy John before Wilton Lopez."
Brooks also weighed in on the arm problems White has been going through lately:
The report on White having issues with triceps tendinitis was either incorrect or unrelated. His needing TJ involves completely different structures. So, I have to question whether the staff did their due diligence in monitoring pain in his elbow to realize this or was he just hiding pain in order to win a spot on the team.
For background, when White was first discussing his velocity drop during the exhibition games at Minute Maid Park, he discussed the tendinitis issues he's dealt with in his triceps. He said it has come and gone throughout his career without ever slowing him down.
However, the troubling velocity drop at the tail end of spring training was very worrisome and a big indicator that something was very wrong. Tommy John is the inevitable end to that situation. Does that mean Houston missed something in its evaluation of White or in its handling of him this spring?
Pitching prospects get hurt, so there's no use getting worked up by this one injury. But, what it does is highlight Luhnow's strategy for stockpiling interesting arms this winter. If he had settled for White and never made the John Ely move or picked up Brad Peacock in the Lowrie deal, White's injury hurts this roster much more.
What do you think? Does White's injury change how you view the Wilton Lopez deal?