On March 1st, Andrew Faulkner was called into a game against the Angels in Tempe to relieve A.J. Griffin (who had relieved Austin Pettibone, who had relieved Martin Perez; Spring Training box scores are nuts). Facing a left-handed-hitting Nolan Fontana, Faulkner threw the first pitch into the right-handed batter’s box. The trainers immediately trotted out to the mound, and within seconds, Faulkner was walking back towards the third-base dugout.
The diagnosis was at first a relief: there were no arm issues, and Faulkner had been “light-headed”. But we didn’t see him in another A-game for the remainder of Spring Training. In fact, according to one scout with interest, no one outside the Rangers organization saw him throw at all for the rest of Spring. Not in a b-game, not on the back fields, nothing. The left-handed reliever, who was widely considered the favorite to consume the innings left behind in Jake Diekman’s absence, was one of the first cuts of Spring Training. The news eventually came out that the team was rebuilding his delivery.
Today, Faulkner was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for cash or a player to be named later; the baseball equivalent of “You want him? He’s yours. Nah, we’re good, you get the next round.”
It’s a stark fall from grace for the southpaw, who broke camp with the Rangers on Opening Day in 2016. But on April 15th, the native of South Carolina faced seven Baltimore Orioles, retiring four, and allowing the other three to score. He was optioned to AAA, and didn’t return to the big league club–save for a six-day stint in May–until September call-ups. He pitched one game, a perfect 1-2-3 inning against Oakland, and his season was over, having pitched just 6⅔ innings, with a 6.75 ERA.
Now, like so many Rangers before him, he is an Oriole.
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