Felix and . . . ?
Typically a strength, injuries have led to some extreme questions marks for the 2014 M’s starting rotation.
The following is the order for April . . .
(which inspired a certain amount of “online” and “radio” booos from some fans – silly really, in that the way April sets up with FOUR off-days, it’s more about the match-ups and the ability to skip some starters and keep Felix on track than actually naming a number TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE for the entire season)
Felix is Felix ~ said he felt good and strong all Spring (pitched all of 13.1 innings in ST – kinda funny how we have to remind ourselves each Spring how inconsequential ST stats are , especially for veteran starters). BTW, Felix will be making his 7th Opening Day start (his 6th consecutive – both Club records) and is 4-0 with a 1.33ERA in his previous six OD starts.
Erasmo had a very strong Spring and, was likely going to be int he rotation even if everyone had been healthy because, though his results in the bigs have been a bit inconsistent, at least he has had some experience. Here’s to Erasmo continuing his strong ST into the regular season.
James also had a great Spring but, first and foremost, he was healthy. Really hoping he stays that way throughout the regular season and has every chance to shine.
Probably the biggest surprise of the Spring was Elias’ jump from AA to the major league starting rotation. Granted, if Iwakuma and Walker had been healthy to start the season, maybe the M’s wouldn’t have taken the same chance as they did with Brandon Maurer last season (with fairly disastrous results). Of course I root for ALL the M’s but, how can anyone NOT be pulling for Elias, given his road to the majors ~ Shannon tells his story here
Chris had a rather circuitous and unexpected route to the M’s starting rotation – he was released by the Nationals and picked up by the M’s and inserted as the “5th starter” just days prior to Opening Day. Unlike Randy Wolf, he was willing to sign the 45-day advanced consent release form (that limits his guaranteed salary to a pro-rated amount if he’s eventually cut). Given his injury history, a rather high risk but, if he can remain healthy, could provide the veteran presence the rotation needs in addition to Felix as they await Kuma’s return.
Hishasi Iwakuma (torn finger tendon) and Taijuan Walker (right shoulder impingement) will both start the season on the 15-day DL with likely returns late April, early May.