When Cody Hebner left Saturday night’s game against West Michigan after 59 pitches, Erik Cabrera, the man Hebner replaced in the rotation, followed out of the bullpen.
That’s where Cabrera will be for the foreseeable future as the organization tries to fix some of his issues.
In nine starts, Cabrera gave up five home runs, issued 14 walks, hit two batters and permitted the league a .311 average and .833 OPS.
“Cabbie will be in the bullpen for now,” TinCaps manager Michael Collins said before the 8-4 loss. “We’ll see how he adjusts to that again. Shorter innings, shorter pitches, coming back and pitching more. I think being on the mound more definitely helps guys.”
In 11 appearances as a reliever entering Saturday, Cabrera had allowed opponents a .197 average and .644 OPS.
His return to the pen was disastrous, as a 3-1 lead disappeared quickly in the fourth inning. Willy Adames blasted a three-run homer and Jose Zambrano, the Whitecaps’ No. 9 hitter, followed two batters later with a solo shot.
Cabrera struck out the side, but Justin Livengood took over at the start of the fifth. Cabrera, a 23-year-old righty signed in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic, has a 5.85 ERA.
He has thrown 13 wild pitches, and with seven errors, fielding his position has been a major problem, as well.
DODGING DANGER: Hebner’s outing ended in exciting fashion, with him clinching both fists and shouting his appreciation at catcher Adolfo Reina, who made a run-saving tag for the third out. Austin Schotts, who tripled with one out, broke for home with two down when Jeff Holm tried to advance from first base on a ball in the dirt.
TinCaps shortstop Josh VanMeter took Reina’s throw and immediately returned it. Reina extended his left leg, interrupting Schotts’ slide just enough to get the glove down in time. West Michigan manager Andrew Graham argued briefly with plate umpire Kirk Struble – to no avail, of course.
ON THE MOVE: TinCaps infielder River Stevens had an early flight scheduled for 6 a.m. Sunday. When the reason for it is a promotion to high-A Lake Elsinore, it’s hard to complain.
“I wouldn’t think he’ll be sleeping much,” Collins said. “It’s (still) great.”