Jhoulys Chacin has pitched well for the Braves in his Spring Training outings and, perhaps most importantly for the righty, his troublesome shoulder is feeling good. “When I signed, my mindset was just to come to Spring Training as strong as I could be and to just pitch the only way I know how to pitch….I just want to go through all of this year and the rest of my career with my shoulder strong,” Chacin tells MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. It would be a nice bargain for Atlanta if Chacin returned to the form he showed when he was a healthy and productive member of the Rockies staff, as Chacin is only signed to a minor league deal. Here’s some more from around baseball…
- “Nothing has materialized” for Justin Morneau this offseason, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes, though the veteran first baseman isn’t announcing his retirement. Morneau said in November that he was adamant about continuing his career after working to come back from concussion and neck issues, though those same injuries limited him to just 49 games in 2015. Health questions notwithstanding, Morneau did hit .316/.363/.487 with 20 homers in 732 PA over the last two seasons and he won the NL batting title in 2014, so it’s rather surprising that his market has been almost entirely quiet. The Indians were the only club known to have interest and they went with Mike Napoli instead due to Napoli’s right-handed bat. Morneau is the last member of MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents still looking for a new team.
- Also from Cafardo, he notes that Red Sox right-hander Steven Wright is out of options and “a few teams are watching Wright’s camp with great anticipation.” Wright, a knuckleballer, could still make Boston’s big league roster as a reliever or possibly as the team’s fifth starter if Eduardo Rodriguez is not healthy to start the year.
- Dexter Fowler spoke to Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com about the surprising turn of events that saw the outfielder re-sign with the Cubs. Despite media reports that had Fowler all but officially signed with the Orioles, Fowler said he and Baltimore “never really were close” to an agreement. “They wanted me to pay them what they said the draft choice I was costing them was valued at. They wanted me to pay them for the pick. So we said, OK, then give me an opt-out after one year, and they said that’s something they won’t do,” Fowler said. Casey Close, Fowler’s agent, also commented on the situation last month and had some harsh words for both the Orioles and the media.
- Also from Gammons, he notes that it isn’t the Cardinals’ style to make rash moves, so the club is likely to be cautious in gauging their response to Jhonny Peralta’s injury absence. St. Louis was linked to Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed earlier today, though Gammons thinks Arizona wouldn’t settle for anything less than a top minor leaguer like righty Luke Weaver (ranked by Baseball America as the Cards’ fourth-best prospect).
- Matthew Bowman is “more likely than not” to make the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster as a reliever, Adam Rubin of ESPN.com writes. Bowman was plucked off of the Mets’ roster in December’s Rule 5 draft. The 24-year-old has pitched mostly as a starter in his minor league career and it would be somewhat of a surprise to see him pass several veteran options to lock down a bullpen job. As a Rule 5 pick, of course, Bowman has to stay on the St. Louis 25-man roster all season or else be offered back to the Mets.