The hits just keep on coming at starting pitcher in this abbreviated 2020 MLB season.
Corey Kluber, a two-time Cy Young winner, was looking for a breath of fresh air after a broken forearm derailed his 2019 campaign after just seven starts. He was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Texas Rangers in the offseason, and in an ideal world, the scenery change would've helped him rejoin the elite ranks.
But it's 2020; we're galaxies removed from an ideal world.
Kluber's debut with the Rangers lasted all of one inning. Performance-wise, he looked promising. He struck out a batter, showed his normal velocity and faced just three hitters in the scoreless frame. But he didn't take the mound after that, as the team cited shoulder tightness as the reason for his quick exit.
Turns out, the problem will plague Texas long after this start.
Kluber was placed on the 45-day with a grade 2 muscle tear in his shoulder. In a 60-game season, that might mean he's done for the duration, and even if he returns, it might not be in his normal role, as team president and general manager Jon Daniels told reporters:
"Given the time frame here and the nature of a 60-game schedule and everything that goes with it, the timeline is not on our side. We will give him his period to rest, and then if it's recovered, or the injury is healed to the point where he can begin throwing, he'll do so with the potential to possibly be ready for the end of the season. If that is the case, it'd probably be more likely as a reliever, given the time needed to build up as a starter."
This shortened schedule has been particularly tough on starting pitchers, as Kluber is merely the latest in a long line of hurlers to have already hit the injured list.
Joe Kelly Gets Eight-Game Suspension
It wasn't clear what the lack of fans would mean for the treatment of the Houston Astros this season given their recent sign-stealing scandal. While the vitriol would've likely been intense from fans on most road trips, their absence from the stadiums removed a lot of the emotion from the equation.
But it only took two series for the 'Stros to be involved in a benches-clearing altercation.
The incident occurred Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers. L.A. reliever Joe Kelly entered in the bottom of the sixth inning, threw a 96-mph fastball behind the head of Astros star slugger Alex Breman and mocked shortstop Carlos Correa after striking him out, inciting the brouhaha.
Kelly, who nearly hit Correa in the head during his at-bat, said he didn't throw at Houston's hitters on purpose. MLB apparently didn't buy Kelly's claim, as it handed him an eight-game suspension (more than 13 percent of the season) that he will appeal.
Jose Reyes Retires
Jose Reyes moved at a rapid pace over the course of his 16-year MLB career. In three of those seasons, he led all of baseball in stolen bases. In four, he paced everyone in triples.
But the 37-year-old has since decelerated, and he's now ready to walk away. Nearly two years removed from his last appearance, he took to Twitter to announce his retirement on Wednesday:
"Jose Reyes was without a doubt one of the most exciting players to ever wear a Mets uniform," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said in a statement. "There wasn't a better sight for our fans than Jose pulling into third with a stand up triple."
Reyes spent his first nine seasons with the Mets, then later returned to spend his final three campaigns in the Big Apple. He made all four of his All-Star appearances as a Met, and in 2006, he finished seventh in the MVP voting after helping New York win 97 games by pairing his league-best 64 steals with career-highs of 19 homers and 81 RBI.