One of the cuts from Pirates camp today was John Holdzkom. With Holdzkom coming off an injury-riddled 2015, there wasn't much reason to think he would break camp with the team, so it's no surprise that the Pirates optioned him. Neal Huntington's comments about Holdzkom today, however, are troubling.
Huntington said John Holdzkom's velocity is resting 89-91 mph this spring, down from 96-97 mph. Holdzkom has not suggested he's injured— Travis Sawchik (@Sawchik_Trib) March 18, 2016
Huntington on Holdzkom. Is he hurt?: "There are times after a player is sent out the information changes"— Travis Sawchik (@Sawchik_Trib) March 18, 2016
Part of the timing of Holdzkom's cut, according to Huntington, was that today was the last day teams can option players who are hurt and who did not appear in the majors last season, unless they're willing to put them on the big-league disabled list. Huntington added that Holdzkom didn't make the team based on his performance in Spring Training.
"We're not saying he's injured," Huntington said, "but based on what we've seen so far in camp he doesn't make the club."
... The question, Huntington said, is "how do we get this guy back to what he was in 2014, back to that guy who can help us? Because that guy can really help us.
"Unfortunately, the guy we've seen so far this spring doesn't help us."
Holdzkom averaged about 96 MPH with his fastball in the 2014 stretch run. It seems doubtful that he would be effective after losing six MPH of velocity. Holdzkom did not appear in the majors last year and missed much of the minor-league season with shoulder trouble. In 2014, Holdzkom was electric, but for now, it appears he might still be struggling with the troubles that dogged him last year.