The Mariners will be without right-hander Tony Zych for four to six weeks due to the rotator cuff tendinitis that landed him on the disabled list earlier this week, reports Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. When the Mariners originally announced his injury, Zych had yet to have a followup examination back in Seattle. Those tests have now taken place and produced the timeline for which Seattle will be without its quietly excellent setup man. In 30 1/3 innings since being promoted to the Majors last season, Zych has posted a 2.67 ERA, 12.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 with a 51.5 percent ground-ball rate. He’s also averaged 95.7 mph on his fastball and has the 14th-best K-BB% among MLB pitchers with a minimum of 30 innings thrown dating back to last season.
- Athletics designated hitter Billy Butler says he’s been left in the dark somewhat as to his lack of playing time, as Jane Lee of MLB.com writes. Butler was careful not to complain about his diminished role, but he did tell Lee that he’s in unfamiliar territory as a part-time player. “I’ve played every day of my life from when I was 7 years old, so this is something new,” he said. “I don’t even know how to exactly prepare for what I’m supposed to do because I’ve never had to do it, so I just try to treat it like I’ve treated everything else, like I’m a starter.” Butler, though, acknowledged the constant change and roster fluctuation that comes with any 162-game season and said he anticipates eventually being able to get another chance to prove he can still be an everyday bat. While he was initially told he wouldn’t be in a straight platoon, that’s how it’s played out for the most part thus far, resulting in just 38 plate appearances for the former Royals star. Butler is earning $10MM this year and has another $10MM coming his way in 2017 as part of a three-year, $30MM deal signed with Oakland.
- The Rangers are flush with possibilities when it comes to their outfield alignment, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports in his latest notes column. Texas officials, according to Rosenthal, have discussed the possibility of shifting Ian Desmond to center field (where he’s already seen a bit of time) upon Shin-Soo Choo’s return from the disabled list, which would keep a spot open for impressive rookie Nomar Mazara. That could give the struggling Delino DeShields some time to work in the minors. Looking longer-term than 2016, though, Rosenthal notes that the Rangers have a plethora of outfield options, most notably including Lewis Brinson, as well as a pair of infield prospects in Joey Gallo and Jurickson Profar, that may not have clear-cut places to be placed on the roster. The Rangers, he concludes, are exceptionally well-positioned to make a major play at this summer’s trade deadline if need be.
- Not that the Angels need any more injuries in their rotation, but there appears to be some form of issue with ace Garrett Richards, as the Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher writes in his latest column. Richards left his most recent outing after four innings due to dehydration, and he’s skipped his regularly scheduled bullpen sessions between starts. According to Fletcher, Richards said that he isn’t hurt but also acknowledged that something is a bit off. “I’m still a little fatigued,” said the Halos’ Opening Day starter. “The body is still tired. I’m still trying to bounce back. Everything doesn’t feel as crisp right now.” The Angels are already without C.J. Wilson and Andrew Heaney, and left-hander Tyler Skaggs has also seen his rehab from Tommy John surgery slowed by some biceps tendinitis. Richards, now, is questionable for his scheduled Friday outing.