photo: Ljay Newsome (Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports Images)
The St. Louis Cardinals’ ongoing search for relief pitching continued Friday afternoon, though their newest addition will not contribute until well into 2022.
The club claimed off waivers right-handed pitcher Ljay Newsome from the Seattle Mariners. The 24-year-old is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery (right UCL) conducted in late May, per the Post-Dispatch. That means Seattle’s 26th round draft pick from 2015 will miss at least part of the 2022 season.
In 2021, Newsome only pitched the first month of the season before initially going on the 10-day injured list. In that time, the Maryland native made six relief appearances and one start with Seattle, logging a 7.98 ERA in 14 2/3 innings. In his 2020 MLB debut season, Newsome’s ERA was 5.17 in 15 2/3 frames.
As a Mariner, Newsome yielded nine home runs in those 30 1/3 innings while opposing batters hit a collective .310 against him. The short-armer is a strike-thrower with a walk rate of just 2.9% in his limited time with Seattle. His strikeout rate is a below average 18.2%, however.
Newsome features a plus changeup and below-average curveball to go with a fastball that is average at best in velocity (low 90s). He likely does not have the offerings to be a big-league starter but could later contribute in relief.
The Cardinals initially placed Newsome on the 60-day injured list, so they did not immediately have to drop another player to add him. However, all players on the 60-day IL must be returned to the 40-man roster following the World Series. At that time, spots are cleared by departing free agents.
With St. Louis, Newsome becomes the sixth player on the 60-day IL, five of whom are pitchers. He was first added to Seattle’s 40-man roster in August 2020 and has three option years remaining.
P.S. In case you wondered how to pronounce his name, this is courtesy of Newsome and the Mariners.
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