The Diamondbacks made one of the offseason’s most criticized moves when they sent a significant haul of young talent to Atlanta for right-hander Shelby Miller. One month into the season, the deal looks even worse for the Diamondbacks than its detractors thought it did at the time. Two of the players they gave up, righty Aaron Blair and shortstop prospect Dansby Swanson, have gotten off to impressive starts in the Braves organization. Miller, meanwhile, threw 19 2/3 innings in April and yielded 19 earned runs while walking one fewer hitter (15) than he struck out (16). Regarding Miller’s early difficulties, D-backs general manager Dave Stewart told MLB Network Radio (Twitter link) that expectations are weighing down the 25-year-old. “Shelby Miller is really just feeling some pressure of the trade,” Stewart said.
Here’s the latest on a few more pitchers from around baseball:
- Blue Jays reliever Drew Storen’s horrid April (eight innings, 14 hits, nine earned runs) won’t deter John Gibbons from continuing to rely on him, the manager told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. “I plan on just throwing him out there. You’ve got to. Otherwise you’re not very good if he’s not a key guy. The good ones, they all learn how to survive and make adjustments,” Gibbons said. As Nicholson-Smith notes, Storen’s average fastball velocity fell from 94 mph last year to 91.9 in April. On the bright side, he struck out seven batters against just one walk during the season’s first month.
- Cuban right-hander and offseason Dodgers signing Yaisel Sierra made his U.S. debut Saturday in a Single-A start and struck out seven hitters in four innings, though he allowed eight base runners (six hits, two walks) and three runs, according to Pete Marshall of the San Bernardino Sun. Sierra’s fastball sat in the low 90s and topped out at 94, which is the normal range for the 24-year-old. “I wasn’t good, I wasn’t bad,” he said of his performance.
- Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood had his best start of the year in a 5-1 loss to the Padres on Friday, throwing seven innings of five-hit, one-run ball while striking out nine and walking one. Wood’s encouraging outing came after a few days of working on a mechanical adjustment, writes Jack Baer of MLB.com. Wood’s delivery became easier to repeat, leading to better command, as a result of lowering his foot during his stride. “When I stride out, my foot off the ground has been fairly higher than it has been in the past,” he said. “It’s something that I thought was the last piece of the puzzle, in terms of my timing and getting my consistency back.” Wood’s performance against the Padres dropped his season ERA from 6.00 to 4.82 and increased his K/9 from a paltry 5.1 to 6.75.
- Rays closer Brad Boxberger continues making progress in his recovery from core muscle repair surgery on March 17 and should return to the majors later this month after a rehab assignment, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Boxberger went 41 of 47 on save opportunities last season and put up a 3.71 ERA, 10.57 K/9 and 4.57 BB/9 in 63 innings.