With Ranger Suarez unlikely to be ready for the first turn through the rotation this season, Phillies manager Rob Thomson announced to reporters, including Alex Coffey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, that left-hander Matt Strahm would start the fifth game of the season for Philadelphia, joining Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Taijuan Walker and Bailey Falter in the rotation while Suarez is on the shelf.
Strahm signed with the Phillies as a reliever this offseason but has 25 career starts in the big leagues under his belt as well. That being said, his 5.08 career ERA in 108 innings of work as a starter pales in comparison to his 3.11 ERA in 196 2/3 relief innings. That said, Strahm nonetheless represents a serviceable option to fill in for Suarez in the short-term, particularly seeing as Thomson notes he will likely be limited to between 65 and 70 pitches in his first start, as he is not fully stretched out yet. That low pitch count could help him avoid facing batters for a third time, a challenge he has only faced in 75 plate appearances in his career to this point.
More from around the NL…
- The Mets optioned infielder Danny Mendick to Triple-A today, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Mendick, who has experience at every position except for catcher and first base, suffered a torn ACL early last season, leading to his non-tender by the White Sox in November of last year. Mendick, who slashed a solid .289/.343/.443 in 106 plate appearances prior to his injury in 2022, eventually landed with the Mets on a one-year, $1MM contract. While he was in the mix for an Opening Day roster spot, he ultimately will serve as depth in Syracuse while the final spot on the bench goes to either Darin Ruf or Tim Locastro.
- The Padres believe that veteran left-hander Cole Hamels will be able to contribute to the big league club sometime this summer, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Hamels, 39, signed with the Padres on a minor league deal after years of battling injuries, with just 3 1/3 innings of work under his belt since the end of the 2019 season. Still, with a career 3.43 ERA in 2,698 innings of work during his fifteen year major league career, it’s easy to see why the Padres decided to take a chance on the possibility he could return healthy and effective.
- The Giants have hired longtime second baseman Joe Panik as a special assistant, according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports. Panik, who won the World Series with the Giants in 2014, was an All Star in 2015, and won a Gold Glove award in 2016, last played in the majors in 2021 for the Blue Jays and the Marlins. He ended his career with a .700 OPS in 818 games, slashing .264/.328/.372. According to Pavlovic, Panik recently spent time working with some of San Francisco’s young infielders in minor league camp. Panik is happy in his new role, telling Pavlovic that “You kind of want to give back because there are a lot of coaches, a lot of people that helped me get to where I was. For me to be on the other side, it’s a little weird, a little different, but I’m enjoying that part of it.”