Here are some notes out of the National League:
- Kevin Frandsen returned to Philadelphia for the first time tonight after his surprising, late-spring departure from the Phillies. Now with the division-rival Nationals, Frandsen told reporters, including Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, that he enjoyed his time in Philly but was “blindside[d]” when he was outrighted. Frandsen said that he took a “leap of faith” in declining his outright assignment (and giving up his $900K salary), but that “a bunch of teams” called when he became available.
- The Padres‘ signing of Cuban righty Odrisamer Despaigne was indeed delayed by the need for a visa and physical to seal the deal, writes MLB.com’s Corey Brock. Echoing a scouting report obtained by MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes, GM Josh Byrnes said that Despaigne profiled as a creative, deceptive, “old generation” Cuban hurler. Brock says that San Diego’s new arm will start out at Double-A, in part to avoid the high-scoring PCL to start his career, but could well rise to the majors this year.
- If and when he joins the big league club, Despaigne may benefit from the one area in which the Padres have paced the bigs this year, according to Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan (in a piece for FOX Sports): an expansive strike zone for San Diego pitchers. The club leads the league with 52 called strikes than expected, thanks largely to the receiving efforts of its backstops. That was an area of priority for the club, as it put resources into improving the skills of incumbents Yasmani Grandal and Nick Hundley while adding Rene Rivera due in large part to his abilities behind the dish.
- The Braves are set to activate hurler Gavin Floyd from the DL this weekend, after the veteran righty worked his way back from Tommy John surgery. Of course, the expectation when Floyd signed his $4MM, incentive-laden pact with Atlanta was that he would join the rotation. That seemed all the more likely when the club suffered a shocking run of injuries to key starters. But with Mike Minor back from his own rehab stint and the team’s current starting five firing on all cylinders, MLB.com’s Joe Morgan writes that Floyd could open in the pen.