There is trouble for Kyle Kendrick beyond a 6.91 second-half ERA. The Phillies righthander underwent an MRI examination Tuesday on his sore right shoulder and will not start Wednesday. His disappointing season could come to a premature conclusion.
Interim manager Ryne Sandberg called the decision "very cautionary and conservative." Kendrick has pitched with the ailment for weeks, Sandberg said. He previously disclosed the injury and appeared on the team's medical report. But it had not prevented him from starting every five days.
"That's why it's a precautionary move just to free his mind of anything," Sandberg said. "He actually said he was still able to pitch now."
Kendrick was not made available for comment prior to Tuesday's game. The 29-year-old pitcher has never required a trip to the disabled list. He is eligible for arbitration this winter and could earn around $8 million.
Zach Miner will start in his place Wednesday as the 10th different pitcher to start a game for the Phillies. Sandberg anticipates a few innings from Miner and heavy use on his bullpen. The schedule cooperated; the season's final scheduled off day is Thursday.
Sandberg described Kendrick's sinker — his most important pitch — as "flat" after his last start. Kendrick made three starts in September with an average fastball velocity at 89.3 m.p.h., according to PITCHf/x data. His sinker traveled an average 90.5 m.p.h. from April to August.
Was the shoulder injury a factor?
"It's hard to tell," Sandberg said. "That's a possibility. It could have had something to do with it. His velocity was still good. He was still able to throw a number of pitches and still pitch with it. It wasn't a thing that was a concern the last few weeks. At this stage of the season, the organization just felt for his peace of mind to be checked out."
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