The Astros have made veteran left-hander and former rotation mainstay Wandy Rodriguez a an offer to pitch for their Triple-A club, reports MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart (Twitter link). The 37-year-old Rodriguez signed with Houston on a minor league deal this winter but didn’t crack the big league roster in Spring Training and is now mulling over the prospect of pitching for the club’s top minor league affiliate, per McTaggart. Rodriguez opened the 2015 campaign with Texas’ other club, the Rangers, and pitched quite well out of the Rangers rotation for a couple of months (3.20 ERA, 7.0 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 across his first 11 starts) before a midsummer meltdown led to his release. Rodriguez spent the first seven and a half seasons of his career with Houston, though the Astros have multiple options ahead of him on the rotation depth chart and a number of lefty relief options at the Triple-A level as well.
Elsewhere in the American League West…
- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels joined 105.3 The Fan yesterday and talked about Adrian Beltre’s contract status (h/t: the SportsDay DFW, which has transcribed a portion of the interview). Daniels said that retaining Beltre beyond 2016 is still high on his list of priorities. “I love the guy,” said Daniels of Beltre. “I could not appreciate him more on or off the field, and what he’s done for a lot of people – including myself, this franchise, our young players – I love the guy. So, we would still like to be able to find a way to keep him as a Ranger beyond this year. … Whether that gets done now or whether that gets done another time…I think he wants to be here, and we want him here.”
- Angels righty Jered Weaver tells reporters, including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, that he is “100 percent” certain that he will return to form. Weaver told the media that his velocity, which sat 80-82 mph late in Spring Training, reached 86 mph a couple of times in a four-inning simulated game earlier this week, and while skipper Mike Scioscia didn’t reveal specific velocity readings from the workout, he did acknowledge that there was improvement. Weaver conceded that he still has work to do both in terms of endurance and velocity, but he expressed confidence in his ability to make strides in both departments. He’s lined up to pitch for the Halos on Sunday, and with yesterday’s news that Andrew Heaney has been placed on the DL due to a forearm strain, Weaver’s performance is even more crucial to the Angels. It should be noted, too, that while 86 mph (especially from a right-hander) is well below average, Weaver enjoyed success in both 2013 and 2014 while averaging about 86.4 mph on his fastball. Scraping 86 and averaging 86 are different, of course, but the uptick in velocity is nonetheless an encouraging sign. Weaver averaged just 83.3 mph on his fastball last year.
- Left-hander Eric Surkamp will start in Felix Doubront’s place for the Athletics on Friday, as MLB.com’s Jane Lee writes. Surkamp gets the nod over right-hander Jesse Hahn, who will remain at Triple-A Nashville after posting an ERA north of 11.00 in Spring Training this season. Skipper Bob Melvin said that Surkamp is deserving of the job after a strong spring (3.60 ERA, 19-to-7 K/BB ratio in 20 innings), though as Lee points out, the A’s will have to make a 40-man roster move to accommodate Surkamp’s promotion. If surgery is the eventual outcome of the “fibrous tearing” that was reportedly found in Doubront’s left elbow, the club could simply transfer the injured lefty to the 60-day DL to create space for Surkamp, though there’s been no definitive word out of Oakland on Doubront, who was headed for a second opinion this week.