The list of starting pitchers eligible for free agency after this season appears unimpressive, in large part due to injuries to key players. The latest:
- The Cubs' Matt Garza makes his season debut tonight in Pittsburgh. He last appeared on a Major League mound on July 21st of last year. Previously a durable pitcher, Garza wasn't even expected to land on the DL after being forced out of that July start with triceps cramps. The injury was later determined to be a stress reaction in his elbow. There was talk of Garza being ready for Opening Day, but the supposedly mild lat strain suffered in February will limit him to fewer than 25 starts this year, even if he makes all of them moving forward.
- The Blue Jays' Josh Johnson suffered a triceps injury in late April, but made a solid minor league rehab start yesterday. For a scouting report on the outing, check out Danny Knobler's latest from CBS Sports. Barring a setback he should be ready in early June, and he may be auditioning for a July trade if Toronto's fortunes don't turn around. Garza and Johnson would both benefit greatly from midseason trades, as they'd become ineligible for qualifying offers after the season.
- Rehabbing from July flexor tendon surgery, the Rangers' Colby Lewis was working at 84-86 miles per hour in a rehab start yesterday. Lewis hopes to return before the All-Star break, but admitted yesterday's velocity "isn't going to cut it."
- The Giants' Ryan Vogelsong fractured two bones in his right hand after being hit by a pitch yesterday, amid what MLB.com's Chris Haft called a "redemptive pitching effort." The Giants have a $6.5MM club option on Vogelsong after the season with a $300K buyout.
- The Padres' Tim Stauffer was promoted Friday, fully recovered from flexor tendon surgery in August. He'll begin in a relief role, but perhaps can be a rotation option down the line. Stauffer made 31 starts with a 3.73 ERA in 2011.
- The Cardinals' Chris Carpenter, working his way back from a shoulder injury, threw an extended bullpen session on Saturday. Carpenter's teammate Jake Westbrook is on the DL for elbow inflammation and biceps tendinitis, but according to this report from MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch, he's "hopeful that Saturday's start is the last one that he will have to miss." Westbrook has a $9.5MM mutual option after the season with a $1MM buyout.
- The Indians' Brett Myers, on the shelf since late April with an elbow injury, is set to make what is hopefully his final rehab appearance today. The Tribe holds a club option on him after the season.
- After a DL stint for lower back stiffness, the Mariners' Aaron Harang will start tonight in Los Angeles.
- The Orioles' Tsuyoshi Wada will make his second minor league rehab start tonight for the Norfolk Tides, as he tries to recover from Tommy John surgery and provide some value to the O's.
- The Pirates' Jeff Karstens made his second minor league rehab start on Saturday, as he recovers from shoulder inflammation.
- The Rockies' Jeff Francis was placed on the DL last Thursday with a groin strain, but may be able to return when eligible.
- The Yankees' Andy Pettitte hit the DL last week with a strained trapezius muscle. The 40-year-old is expected to return when eligible.
- After the 2012 season, only four free agent starters were coming off 200-inning seasons. Currently, 13 impending free agents seem to have a shot: Dan Haren, Tim Hudson, Jon Garland, Joe Saunders, Tim Lincecum, Paul Maholm, Bartolo Colon, Jason Marquis, Ervin Santana, Jason Vargas, Hiroki Kuroda, Bronson Arroyo, and Ricky Nolasco.
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