NL East Notes: Cecchini, Cabrera, Nationals, Neris

Posted: May 8, 2017 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

The Mets will promote infielder Gavin Cecchini prior to tonight’s game against the Giants, Adam Rubin reports (on Twitter). A corresponding move for Cecchini’s recall is not yet known. Once considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Cecchini’s stock has taken a step back, though he still entered the season rated as the Mets’ No. 6 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com. In addition to making his MLB debut last season and hitting a pair of doubles in seven plate appearances with the Mets last season, the 23-year-old turned in a solid year in Triple-A Las Vegas. In 499 plate appearances there last season, Cecchini batted .325/.390/.448. He’s off to a slower start in 2017, slashing .254/.316/.369.

More from the Senior Circuit’s Eastern Division…

  • Flamethrowing reliever Mauricio Cabrera was activated from the disabled list by the Braves yesterday, though he was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. Cabrera was one of Atlanta’s best relievers in 2016 and is touted as a potential closer, though as MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets, he’ll remain in Triple-A to continue to hone his control. The reasons for the Braves’ apparent concerns with his control aren’t hard to see; in six minor league innings this season (he was previously pitching on a rehab assignment), Cabrera has issued four walks, hit a batter, and thrown three wild pitches. That said, it shouldn’t be hard for Cabrera to force his way back into the mix in short order if he begins to locate his pitches more effectively. Josh Collmenter, Ian Krol and Eric O’Flaherty all have ERAs north of 5.50, and the Braves’ relief corps as a whole has pitched to a 4.99 ERA in 95 2/3 innings this year.
  • The Nationals are weighing whether to keep right-hander Jacob Turner in their struggling bullpen or use him as their fifth starter, writes Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. Turner has fired six shutout innings in the bullpen but has also impressed the team in a starting role, Castillo notes. The five-spot in the rotation comes up next on Thursday, and Washington’s other option for that outing in Baltimore is right-hander A.J. Cole. Castillo notes, however, that Cole was hit fairly hard by the Phillies this weekend despite escaping with just one run allowed. Right-hander Joe Ross, who was optioned to Triple-A last week, is slated to pitch for Syracuse tonight, so he’s seemingly not an option.
  • Since surrendering back-to-back-to-back homers to blow a save against the Dodgers a bit more than a week ago, Hector Neris has once again ramped up the usage of his splitter, as Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer points out. Gelb notes that 30 of the 43 pitches Neris has thrown since that meltdown have been splitters. The Phillies have “implored” Neris to throw his splitter, which is his best pitch, with more and more frequency, Gelb adds. “The more he uses it, the more hitters have to worry about it, and they can’t sit on his fastball,” says manager Pete Mackanin. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki notes that during Neris’ shakiest stretch this season, he was throwing 40 percent splitters against 60 percent four-seam fastballs. Neris looks to be back on track, and it doesn’t seem as if there’s any real thought in making a ninth-inning change in Philadelphia at this time. (Reminder to fantasy players: you can track all of the latest ninth-inning drama by following MLBTR’s @closernews account on Twitter.)

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