ROTATION ABSENCES: Vladimir Gutierrez’s Time Has Come

By Pablo Pichardo

Spring training continues to unfold and most teams are adjusting their gears trying to make it to Opening Day the best shape possible. April 7 will mark the start of the 2020 MLB season. 

But not all organizations have good news because some big names have suffered worrisome injuries that will drive them away from the field for several months.

One of these franchises is the Cincinnati Reds, who have lost two of the main cards in the starting rotation: Justin Dunn, who had great chances of becoming number 4 starter and Dominican Luis Castillo.

All this situation has created great uncertainty concerning the Opening Day starter, when the oldest franchise in professional baseball will face the reigning World Series Champions, the Atlanta Braves, in SunTrust Park. In the middle of the conversation, the name of Cuban hurler Vladimir Gutiérrez, who impressed some specialists with his rookie numbers, pops up.

The Pinar del Río-born hurler left a 9-6 ledger with a 4.74 ERA. Besides, he struck out 88 with 46 walks in 114 innings to post a 1.42 WHIP. Such performance helped him get a spot in the Reds’ rotation, and he also finished eighth in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Last Tuesday, Gutiérrez made his Spring Training debut against the Dodgers, who put a lot of their biggest names, including recently acquired free agent Freddie Freeman, into the lineup. He pitched an inning with a run and a strikeout.

There is no doubt that being selected as the Opening Day starter would be one of the biggest accomplishments for the Cuban moundsman, as he is trying to establish himself in the grandest baseball stage of the world.

This option would not be the only one for Cincinnati’s manager David Bell, as Tyler Mahle is another solid choice, and many consider him to be the starter if Castillo doesn’t return on time.

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