15 Jun

season on the blink

To say it’s been a tough year for Mississippi-connected pitchers in the big leagues would be an understatement. Almost seems like there is a curse. Nine starters began the season on various 40-man rosters. Currently, two are on an active roster, and one of those is a veteran having his worst season. Four are on the injured list, caught up in the epidemic of arm injuries sweeping baseball. Three are stuck in the minors, and one of those missed a month with an injury. J.P. France, a rookie with Houston out of Mississippi State, has been good since his May 6 call-up, posting a 2-1 record and 3.54 ERA in seven games. He’s the bright spot. The other active pitcher, 36-year-old ex-Ole Miss star Lance Lynn, is 4-7 with a 6.75 for the Chicago White Sox. His career numbers: 127-91, 3.66. Something ain’t right. Back on April 1, at a frigid Wrigley Field, Justin Steele and Brandon Woodruff hooked up in a dandy duel. Lucedale native Steele threw six shutout innings, fanning eight for the Chicago Cubs. Wheeler’s Woodruff allowed one run in six innings, also striking out eight, for Milwaukee. A harbinger of great things? Not really. Woodruff made only one more start before landing on the IL. He’s still there. Steele was fairly brilliant (6-2, 2.65) over 12 starts, but he is hurt, on the IL since May 31. Spencer Turnbull, the former Madison Central High standout with Detroit, came off Tommy John surgery this season, went 1-4 with a 7.26 and was headed to the minors before landing back on the IL. Then there’s Colorado’s Ryan Rolison, the former first-round pick out of Ole Miss. He missed all of 2022 after shoulder surgery but seemed on the brink of his big league debut last month when — alas — he went back on the IL after two brutal Triple-A starts. Dakota Hudson, the ex-MSU star, went to spring training with St. Louis hoping to regain a job in the starting rotation. He scuffled, was optioned to Triple-A, got hurt and is slowly working his way back. He started for Memphis at Jacksonville on Wednesday, gave up nine runs (six earned) in 3 2/3 innings and fell to 3-4, 5.84. Also in the minors — and scuffling — are MSU alum Konnor Pilkington (6.92 for Arizona’s Triple-A club) and Ole Miss product James McArthur (6.82 for Kansas City’s Triple-A team).

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