The Astros’ first base job remains up for grabs, and general manager Jeff Luhnow tells Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that he can envision prospects A.J. Reed and Tyler White both making the Opening Day roster (audio link), depending on the health of designated hitter Evan Gattis. “Both could make the team,” said Luhnow. “It’s not clear what Gattis’ situation is going to be on Opening Day, and it’s not clear whether he’s going to be ready, so we might have an extra spot. But I wouldn’t say just two guys, either. I think Matt Duffy’s got to be in that equation as well. [Pacific Coast League] player of the year, he’s had a good spring so far, and you can’t count Jon Singleton out either. He’s had a couple of good years in the minor leagues, just hasn’t put it together at the big leagues.” Asked about the impact that Singleton’s contract could play when determining first base playing time, Luhnow expressed confidence that Singleton could still make good on his five-year, $10MM contract but said that decisions of the past won’t impact the present-day roster, and he has to do what’s best for the club. Notably, it should be pointed out that the club’s signing of Doug Fister, which could push Scott Feldman’s $8MM contract to the bullpen, is reflective of that line of thinking.
Here’s more from the AL West…
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels joined Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News on his podcast, and Grant has transcribed some of the highlights (in addition to providing the full audio, for those that are interested). Daniels addressed the positive signs he’s seen this spring from Joey Gallo, the returning Jurickson Profar and a number of other prospects. Interestingly, Daniels highlighted starting pitching and catching as two potential areas where the club could be exposed. Earlier tonight, Grant reported that the Rangers are surveying the market for catching help and listed Derek Norris as a player of interest.
- Ian Desmond has reached out to Royals left fielder Alex Gordon for advice in making the transition from the left side of the infield to left field, writes Grant’s colleague Gerry Fraley. Gordon explains to Fraley that one tactic that helped him (and has become a part of his usual pre-game routine) is to spend at least two rounds of batting practice in the outfield, shagging fly-balls as if he were in a game situation. As Fraley notes, Desmond is looking to become the first player in history to start 100 games at shortstop in one season and start 100 games in left field in the season to follow.
- Angels right-hander Jered Weaver has a bulging disk on the left side of his neck that sometimes triggers irritation in his left arm, writes Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, but his neck troubles don’t appear to be related to his declining velocity in the estimation of the doctors Weaver has visited. Weaver said that there are no more tests to be performed and no more doctors to see about the issue, joking that he “almost wishes” that doctors would inform him he needs surgery, just so he could know the cause of his velocity loss. While Shaikin notes that Weaver’s frustration is apparent, the 33-year-old says he’ll take the ball whenever asked. Weaver is scheduled to pitch on Saturday, but manager Mike Scioscia tells the L.A. media that the Halos will first evaluate him in a bullpen session on Wednesday.
- Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan loves the Athletics’ claim of right-handed reliever Andrew Triggs off of release waivers from the Orioles. Though the 27-year-old hasn’t yet reached the Majors, Sullivan notes that the improvement in Triggs’ K%-BB% from 2014 to 2015 ranked sixth among all minor leaguers, rating him alongside the likes of Mychal Givens and Tony Zych — two relievers that had breakout campaigns after making such gains. Triggs’ low arm slot and slider also yield plenty of ground-balls, and the last homer he allowed came in 2014, Sullivan notes. While Triggs is no sure thing to make a near-term impact, Sullivan opines that the decision to release him to clear room for Pedro Alvarez was curious, as there were other candidates on the 40-man roster that carry less intrigue than Triggs.