NL Central Notes: Burnes, Wood, Pirates

A fourth ugly start to open the season has put Corbin Burnes’ spot in the Brewers’ rotation in jeopardy, writes Tom Haurdricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel“I think we’re going to have a longer conversation this time, and try to figure out what the best way to get him on track is,” said manager Craig Counsell after today’s loss. Counsell wouldn’t guarantee another start for Burnes and spoke of how he thought Burnes threw the ball well but had some mistakes punished in his first few starts; regarding Wednesday’s loss, however, Counsell suggested that Burnes didn’t throw as well and left far too many pitches in the middle of the plate — an assessment with which Burnes himself agreed. With Freddy Peralta hitting the injured list, bouncing Burnes from the rotation would create even more uncertainty in a starting staff that is already accompanied by plenty of questions.

Here’s more from the division…

  • The Reds don’t expect Alex Wood to make his team debut until sometime in May, per Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Acquired to help round out a revamped rotation, Wood hasn’t pitched in a game setting since late February due to back spasms. A setback at the end of camp pushed his timetable for a return back even further, but he’s now slated for a bullpen session Saturday. The lefty will need multiple rehab starts before he can be considered a big league option, though for the time being, Wood tells Nightengale he’s only focused on coming out of his upcoming bullpen session feeling strong. Given how long it’s been since he’s pitched in a game, the latter half of May seems more plausible than the early portion for a return.
  • The Pirates’ lack of a move to truly address shortstop this offseason has led to some early questions at the position, as Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette addresses in his latest mailbag column. Trade acquisition Erik Gonzalez is hitting just .217/.308/.304 through 54 plate appearances, while prospect Kevin Newman has made a pair of errors in 17 innings a year after grading poorly there in a small sample of 182 innings. Brink notes that Cole Tucker could be a consideration at some point, but he likely won’t be promoted until he’s past the potential cutoff for Super Two status in mid June. Brink also notes that moving Jung Ho Kang to shortstop and playing Colin Moran at third base full time doesn’t appear to be in the cards now. He goes on to look ahead to next year’s free-agent market as well as Tyler Glasnow’s success in Tampa Bay in a column that has plenty of interesting info for Buccos fans.

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