[March 22, 2014]
(The Sports Xchange) — Major League
Baseball player notes:
Chicago White Sox:
2B Gordon Beckham still feels like he'll be ready for Opening
Day, but that means getting back to baseball activities heading into
the last week of camp. Beckham was diagnosed with a strained left
oblique March 14, and was completely shut down from all baseball
activity, as well as weightlifting. The injury occurred while taking
flips in the batting cage. "It's a little better but it's still
sore," Beckham said on March 20. "There's not a lot of progress in
terms of anything new. I still have a couple of more days of doing
nothing in terms of baseball and then get back into it. It's very
tricky, so I'm trying to take it easy as I can so I can make it to
Opening Day. That's the goal until they tell me no.
Chicago White Sox: Lindstrom, Matt
RHP Matt Lindstrom (strained left oblique) made his Cactus League
debut on Friday, pitching a scoreless inning in the 7-0 loss, and as
long as the reliever has no setbacks with the injury over the next
few days, he could avoid the disabled list to start the season.
While RHP Nate Jones still looks like the leading closer candidate,
Lindstrom is considered the safety net, and could even get
ninth-inning opportunities when Jones needs a rest. That's why his
return is very important for the Sox. "I don't want to be thinking
about (the oblique) out there," Lindstrom said "You have to make
pitches in the big leagues, and if you don't make pitches, it's
because you are thinking about something else. It's hard enough to
play this game. The biggest thing is not having those thoughts in
your head and being able to execute your pitches, and I need to do
that in order to have success."
Chicago White Sox: Keppinger, Jeff
INF Jeff Keppinger is still sidelined with a right shoulder problem
that required surgery at the end of last season, and will start the
season on the 15-day disabled list, according to Ventura. "I just
know it hurts really bad," Keppinger said. "It's not pain from the
surgery, it's an impingement. I'm tight in a certain area, and
everything is not functioning right, so it's causing pinching in
there. Until I get that right, it's going to keep hurting." Not
exactly what the White Sox were hoping for after they signed the
then free agent to a three-year, $12 million contract heading into
the 2013 season. He struggled last season, hitting .253 with 40
RBIs, and his immediate future this season remains a question mark.
The White Sox could look to even try and move him when he does
return from the latest setback.
Chicago White Sox: Sale, Chris
LHP Chris Sale is obviously the Opening Day starter for the White
Sox rotation, but according to Ventura, everything else is still up
in the air after that. Ventura all but named the five starters — Sale, LHPs John Danks and Jose Quintana, and RHPs Felipe Paulino and
Erik Johnson — but he and the staff haven't figured out when and
how the other four will be used. It looked as if it would be Sale
and then Quintana, but Quintana has been very shaky this spring. Danks looked as good as anyone in camp, so there is a chance he
could move into that No. 2 spot, and then Ventura uses the righties
to break up the southpaws. "With Chris going the first day,
everything beyond that can change," Ventura said. "Looking at
weather, and where we're traveling to. I'm not real concerned about
it right now with how that's going to go."
Chicago White Sox: Gillaspie, Conor
3B Conor Gillaspie has shown enough this spring — both offensively
and with his glove — that the White Sox are expected to name him
the Opening Day starter at third. The left-handed hitter was
challenged by top prospect Matt Davidson, but Ventura hinted that
Davidson might be better served to start the year in Charlotte, so
he can get at-bats and keep working on his defense. The other thing
that hurt Davidson is his lack of versatility. With Adam Dunn and
Paul Konerko in the DH spot, Ventura wanted versatile reserves.
Kansas City Royals: Perez, Salvador
C Salvador Perez's line drive Wednesday night fractured the nose and
above the left eye of Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. The
game was called in the sixth inning after Chapman was carted off the
field and taken via ambulance to a local hospital. Perez visited him
in the hospital after the game. "For sure, I feel terrible," Perez
said. "I didn't want to hit anybody. It's part of the game but I
just felt real bad when that happened."
Kansas City Royals: Shields, James
RHP James Shields, who will start the March 31 opener at Detroit,
yielded three home runs Friday in a 9-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
"It was one of those days were you felt too good and you start
overthrowing," Shields said. "I think the ball was up in the zone,
for the most part, throughout the game. I felt like I made some
nice, quality pitches that they hit as well." He threw 97 pitches in
six innings, allowing five runs.
Kansas City Royals: Valencia, Danny
INF Danny Valencia suffered a bruised left wrist after being struck
by a Jered Weaver pitch March 20. X-rays were negative but he was
held out of games March 21.
Kansas City Royals: Moustakas, Mike
3B Mike Moustakas made his second base debut Thursday against the
Los Angeles Angels. He was a shortstop in high school and has played
only third in the majors. Moustakas has been taking ground balls at
second during practice. "I've never really played on that side of
the field actually," Moustakas said. "Never played one inning over
at second. I've played just short and third. The angles of the ball
coming off the bat is going to be a little different. Turns on
double plays will definitely be different. I think I'll be all
right. I did play short so I have a little background around the bag
at second. Again, we'll see how it goes, just in case of an
Kansas City Royals: Hochevar, Luke
RHP Luke Hochevar, who will open the season on the disabled list
after undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery Tuesday in Los
Angeles, is back in camp. In addition, Hochevar had a bone spur
removed from his elbow.
Kansas City Royals: Infante, Omar
2B Omar Infante had a cortisone shot for his sore elbow and is
scheduled to resume a throwing program March 22. The Royals are
hopeful Infante will be able to play four or five exhibition games
at second base with no problems before the March 31 opener.
Cincinnati Reds: Cueto, Johnny
RHP Johnny Cueto was scratched from Thursday's start because of an
"irritation" in his scapula. Reds manager Bryan Price downplayed the
injury. "He could pitch today," Price said. "And he could pitch
comfortably. But it's irritated. He feels it more when he's done
throwing. We're going to skip him one start. He'll get up to his six
innings and 90 pitches in his next time out — possibly in a minor
league game (on Tuesday) — just so we're sure he can get his
Cincinnati Reds: Bailey, Homer
RHP Homer Bailey missed his last start because of a groin strain. He
is scheduled to start Sunday. "Every day, he gets better," Reds
manager Bryan Price said. "We anticipate him making that start, but,
until we get through that bullpen tomorrow and get to game time on
Sunday, nothing is written in stone."
Cincinnati Reds: Latos, Mat
RHP Mat Latos made his first start of the spring in Class A game.
Latos had knee surgery Feb. 14 and elbow surgery Oct. 10. "He came
out of it totally fine," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "His arm
felt good. His knee felt fine. He felt strong. So we don't see any
reason why he won't make his next start on schedule."
Cincinnati Reds: Broxton, Jonathan
RHP Jonathan Broxton is progressing from elbow surgery. He pitched
in a game March 17 and is scheduled to throw again March 22 in a
game. Broxton threw an inning March 17. "He came in on the off day
(March 18) and played catch — no ramifications or ill effects,"
Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Cincinnati Reds: Simon, Alfredo
RHP Alfredo Simon probably will make at least one start with Mat
Latos, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey on the mend. Simon allowed five
runs (three earned) on eight hits in five innings March 20 in 6-3
loss to Kansas City. He walked three and struck out three in the
game LHP Aroldis Chapman was injured in. "He's thrown the ball
really well and there's been two games where he's been erratic with
his command," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "(March 19), he didn't
have an off-speed pitch to go to. He wasn't able to drop his
curveball in there like he usually is.
Detroit Tigers: Rondon, Bruce
RHP Bruce Rondon, who just seemed to be emerging as the kind of
late-inning force Detroit hoped he would be last spring, will be
lost to the Tigers this season due to an elbow injury that will
require Tommy John surgery soon. Rondon recently complained of elbow
soreness, and an exam showed he will need to have the ligament in
his right elbow replaced. Rondon had a 1.29 ERA in seven spring
appearances. "We've had a lot of injury issues this spring," Tigers
general manager Dave Dombrowski said, "but that's why you try to
build depth if you possibly can. We have some guys who will have to
step up." Dombrowski indicated the Tigers will try to fill Rondon's
projected role as the setup man internally. It could open the way
for RHP Evan Reed, who is out of options and is having a good
spring, to make the roster. "(Rondon) just came in one day and said
he was a little tender," Dombrowski said. "At that point, we figured
he should see a doctor. Before that, he hadn't complained of any
problems at all. Our goal at this time is to handle it (the
Detroit Tigers: Iglesias, Jose
SS Jose Iglesias is out for 4-6 months with stress fractures in both
shins, and Detroit is anticipating the flashy shortstop won't be
able to play all season. "Jose's activity will be limited to
non-weight-bearing conditioning, such as biking and swimming, for
the next 4-6 months," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said.
"He will be reevaluated at the four-month mark." Even if he is
cleared to resume baseball after four months, it will be at least
another month before he is ready to resume his position with the
Tigers. "That late into the year, my thought process is that it
would be more unlikely than likely (that Iglesias will play again
this season)," Dombrowski said. "My understanding, though, is that
he will be fine for next season." Iglesias played with shin splints
most of last season but was able to play just one exhibition game
before getting shut down.
Detroit Tigers: Worth, Danny
SS Danny Worth, in camp on a non-roster invitation, is a leading
candidate to replace injured SS Jose Iglesias for the Tigers. Worth,
28, has had a career marked by aliments and injuries and was removed
from the 40-man roster during the winter to make room for LF Rajai
Davis. Worth has a .242 batting average in 115 games with Detroit
and is a career .248 hitter in the minors. "He's got the most
experience playing at the big league level, played shortstop at the
big league level," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He probably wouldn't
be as star struck by the big stage." "It's not a different feel
(from last spring, when he was cut at the end of camp)," Worth said.
"If anything, I feel less of it from last year, just because I know
all the stuff that can happen. I don't read too much into it or
think about it too much. I'm just trying to get ready for the year.
There's still a lot of spring left. Anything can happen."
Detroit Tigers: Romine, Andrew
INF Andrew Romine, 28, was acquired by Detroit on March 21 from the
Los Angeles Angels in return for LHP Jose Alvarez. The
switch-hitting Romine is a .250 career hitter with no home runs and
11 RBIs in 152 Major League at-bats, 108 coming last year for the
Angels. The intention now is to have Romine combine with another
shortstop to fill in for injured SS Jose Iglesias. "We talked about
having a shortstop that can catch the ball and run a little bit,"
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "He fits the
description. We look for him to be on our big-league club and part
of the (shortstop) mix. How else we'll go, I'm not sure at this
point. We feel comfortable this is a good solution for us with the
mix of other guys we have. It gives us a left-handed hitter, so he
fits what we need for our ball club." Dombrowski added he did not
feel Romine is an everyday shortstop. "Could he be? Perhaps, but we
look at him more as a guy who can play 3-4 days a week," Dombrowski
2B/SS Hernan Perez could play shortstop if Detroit decided to use
him as part of the replacement mix for injured SS Jose Iglesias, out
at least 4-6 months with shin stress fractures. Perez has filled in
for Detroit briefly over the last two seasons but has had problems
breaching .200 at the plate. The Tigers see him more as a second
baseman, if he can cure his tendency to chase outside breaking
Detroit Tigers: Suarez, Eugenio
SS Eugenio Suarez might be the best defensive candidate to replace
injured SS Jose Iglesias if Detroit decides to take the best pure
defensive player in its organization. But general manager Dave
Dombrowski indicated following the acquisition of INF Andrew Romine
that Suarez was a long shot to make the team. Suarez blossomed at
the plate at high Class A Lakeland last season (.311) but slipped to
.253 when promoted to Double-A Erie. He was slated to play shortstop
this year at Triple-A Toledo, with 2B Hernan Perez beside him.
Suarez had not made much of an impression at the plate in Spring
Tigers: Sanchez, Anibal
RHP Anibal Sanchez missed a start March 18 with some soreness in the
back of his right shoulder, the same ailment that shut him down for
three weeks last summer. Sanchez received a cortisone injection to
calm the inflammation and felt fine throwing a bullpen March 20. He
was scheduled to start March 24 in a game at minor league camp. "If
everything goes according to plan," manager Brad Ausmus said, "we
can still get him up to around 100 pitches in his last (spring)
Detroit Tigers: Putkonen, Luke
RHP Luke Putkonen seemed to be securing his spot in the Tigers'
bullpen even before Detroit announced RHP Bruce Rondon was finished
for the season with Tommy John surgery impending. Putkonen entered
March 22 with a streak of 10 1/3 scoreless spring innings. His
slider has been better this spring, enhancing his mid-90s fastball
Detroit Tigers: Verlander, Justin
RHP Justin Verlander will pitch Detroit's first game for the seventh
straight season, new manager Brad Ausmus revealed after the pitcher
made his second strong start of the spring. Verlander threw five
innings of one-hit, one-walk pitching in a March 17 start and
followed with five shutout frames March 21 against Atlanta. "I'm
always grateful for starting on Opening Day," said Verlander, who
was competing with defending Cy Young Award winner RHP Max Scherzer
for the honor. "I never take it for granted. Of course I would have
understood (if Scherzer had been chosen). I've said that. The guy
won the Cy Young. Any other team in baseball and he's the Opening
Day starter. There was not a doubt in my mind that I would be ready.
But whether I would start it or not was up to Brad." Verlander
underwent sports hernia surgery on both legs in January. He feels
that condition might have been responsible for his sub-par 2013
season. "I want to pitch like I'm supposed to pitch. I hold myself
to a higher standard than I think anybody could, and I expect to
pitch up to that standard. Last year I didn't," he said about his
13-12 record and 3.46 ERA. "What caused that I don't know. It was
not as easy for me as in the past. But that just gives me something
to prove." He had allowed just seven hits and struck out 10, with
four walks, in his first 13 2/3 spring innings.
Detroit Tigers: Reed, Evan
RHP Evan Reed has a stronger chance to make the Tigers with the news
that RHP Bruce Rondon is out for season, needing Tommy John surgery.
Reed got four outs March 21 without giving up a run to lower his
spring ERA to 1.59, having given up just two earned runs in nine
games. Reed is out of options and likely to be claimed if Detroit
were to place him on waivers.
Minnesota Twins: Nolasco, Ricky
RHP Ricky Nolasco, the anointed opening day starter, didn't instill
much confidence in his team or fans with his second-to-last start of
the spring on March 21. In a loss to the New York Mets, Nolasco had
a terrible start in which he threw 44 pitches in the first inning
and gave up seven runs on six hits. He followed it up with two
hitless innings, but he will need a better showing in his final
tune-up to get Twins fans excited for the new pitching staff.
Minnesota Twins: Hicks, Aaron
CF Aaron Hicks had not separated himself from Alex Presley in the
battle for center field and it was frustrating his assistant general
manager Rob Antony on March 19. "Hicks hasn't been anything special
this spring," Antony told the Star Tribune. "Neither has Presley. So
there's your center field battle." But Hicks' bat might have
responded when he went 5-for-6 in the following two games, including
4-for-4 against the Rays on March 20. That could be what Antony is
Minnesota Twins: Santana, Danny
SS Danny Santana, who was thought by some to have a chance to make
the roster in the battle for shortstop, was sent down March 16.
Santana was optioned to Triple-A Rochester, but he vowed to return,
"probably in a couple months," according to the Pioneer Press.
Santana said he had to work on the "routine play."
Minnesota Twins: Bartlett, Jason
INF Jason Bartlett got his first hit of the spring March 19.
Battling for a utility spot, Bartlett struggled at the plate. It was
his first hit in 676 days because he missed last season because of
injury, so it looks worse than it is. Bartlett followed up that hit
by going 1-for-1 on March 20, but went 0-for-3 against the New York
Mets on March 21. He is batting 2-for-31 (.065) this spring and is
hoping it isn't too little, too late.
Minnesota Twins: Suzuki, Kurt
C Kurt Suzuki batted in the second spot in the batting order March
20 against the Rays. He batted there before when he was with Oakland
with some success, and since the Twins are trying to find the top of
their order, they have to look at every possibility. "He had a .290
on-base last year; that in the two-hole probably isn't going to
work," general manager Rob Antony told the Star Tribune. "But he's
taken some good at-bats and shown some bat control in spring
training, so that it's a possibility. These are some things that
(manager Ron Gardenhire) is going to have to look at."
Minnesota Twins: Kubel, Jason
DH Jason Kubel played his second game in right field this spring on
March 21 against the New York Mets. He has been playing primarily as
the designated hitter thus far. "I'm going to DH mostly," Kubel told
the Pioneer Press. "DH takes some getting used to. I'd rather work
that out now. It's been good this way. My legs feel great." Kubel
went 2-for-2 with a walk in three plate appearances against the
Minnesota Twins: Florimon, Pedro
SS Pedro Florimon returned to game action March 18 after being out
most of spring training recovering from an appendectomy. He has
batted 1-for-8 in three games since his return, but has looked good
in the field. Despite the lack of hit production so far, he is the
incumbent in the position and hasn't seen a real challenge for it,
with Danny Santana being sent down and Jason Bartlett struggling at
Cleveland Indians: Santana, Carlos
C/INF Carlos Santana is trying to make the conversion to third base
this spring, and played that position exclusively through the first
two weeks of training camp. Santana has now begun to catch some
games for the first time this spring. "He's looked very comfortable
behind the plate. His work ethic this spring has been
extraordinary," manager Terry Francona said.
Cleveland Indians: Bourn, Michael
OF Michael Bourn is sidelined with a strained hamstring, an injury
Bourn first sustained in the last game of the regular season last
year. He had surgery to repair it over the winter, but he strained
it again on March 16. The Indians projected that Bourn would be
sidelined two or three weeks, which could put his status for opening
day in jeopardy.
Cleveland Indians: Chisenhall, Lonnie
3B Lonnie Chisenhall, with a week left in training camp, was trying
to hold off the challenge from C/INF Carlos Santana, who is
attempting to make the conversion from catcher to third base. "We
told Lonnie to play the best he can, and let us make the decisions,"
manager Terry Francona said.
Cleveland Indians: Carrasco, Carlos
RHP Carlos Carrasco on March 20 may have taken a step backward in
his attempt to win the competition for the one opening in the
Indians' starting rotation. In 2 2/3 innings that day against
Oakland, Carrasco gave up nine runs on nine hits and two walks.
Carrasco is competing with RHP Josh Tomlin, RHP Trevor Bauer and RHP
Aaron Harang for that one spot in the rotation. Carrasco is out of
minor league options and Indians officials have said if he doesn't
start the season in the rotation, he will be on the Opening Day
roster as a reliever.
Cleveland Indians: Hagadone, Nick
LHP Nick Hagadone, who can't seem to get his career over the big
league hump, was included in the Indians' second round of roster
cuts. Hagadone was optioned to Triple-A Columbus. "He's been
inconsistent, and needs to improve on that, but he's a guy we need
in the major leagues to help us win ball games," said manager Terry
Francona. Hagadone split the 2013 season between Cleveland and
Columbus. In 36 appearances with the Indians, he had a 5.46 ERA. In
27 appearances with Columbus, he had a 2.51 ERA.
Cleveland Indians: Masterson, Justin
RHP Justin Masterson's contract-extension discussions have reached
an impasse. Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said on March 21
that the two sides have decided to table their discussions on a
Masterson, who turned 29 on March 22, can become a free agent at the
end of the 2014 season. He is scheduled to be the Indians' Opening
Day pitcher March 31 in Oakland, his third consecutive day
assignment. He lost his salary arbitration hearing this spring, and
will make $9,762,500 in 2014.
Last year, Masterson was 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA, even though he
missed most of the month of September with a strained rib cage. The
Indians and Masterson have held on and off negotiations on a
contract extension since the start of the new year, according to
"We reached some common ground, but at this moment in time, we have
not been able to align on the right contract," Antonetti said. The
Indians general manager added that "there will be other junctures in
time when we can explore an extension. Just not right now."