New Angels righty Tim Lincecum has consented to an optional assignment as part of the arrangement, GM Billy Eppler tells reporters including Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). That’s obviously designed to give him a chance to ramp back up, but also means that the team won’t face the time pressures inherent in a rehab stint (thirty days, for pitchers). The Halos are playing a man down tonight since Lincecum technically needs to clear revocable option waivers before the move can be made, the Times’ Pedro Moura notes on Twitter. Regardless of the logistics, Eppler says that he expects that Lincecum will be ready for the bigs within twenty to thirty days. Lincecum also addressed his decision to sign with the Angels, noting that he had multiple MLB offers, as MLB.com’s Fabian Ardaya tweets.
Here’s more from the American League:
- White Sox ace Chris Sale is exhibiting diminished velocity and a lower strikeout rate, and he’s even better than ever, Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated writes. Certain ERA estimators are just a bit down on his efforts — at least against his amazing career figures — and none think he’s quite supported his sparkling 1.58 ERA, but Reiter explains that the master of “stuff” has learned how to think on the hill. Sale cites the desire to be more efficient and to save his highest gear for when he truly needs it. He also suggested that taking something off at times allows him to “get more movement” and keep the ball down. Sox pitching coach Don Cooper suggests that it’s something of an evolutionary transformation. “It’s a characteristic of the top, top guys,” Cooper explains. “They’ve got stuff in their tank when they need it, but they’re managing the game, handling the game, knowing when to add, when to subtract. I do believe this is pitching at the highest level.” The piece is well worth a full read.
- Midway through his first game off the DL, Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo departed with a tight left hamstring, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Choo had been sidelined by a right calf injury, so at least it’s not a re-aggravation of the prior issue, but that’s certainly disappointing news for the veteran. Texas still has plenty of options in the corner outfield, of course, and the severity of the injury remains to be seen.
- The signals on Red Sox reliever Carson Smith are somewhat mixed as he hits the 15-day DL. On the one hand, skipper John Farrell says that all indications he’s been given suggest that surgery would be a surprise, as Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports (Twitter links). On the other, he’s already had an MRI and the results are being reviewed, with Smith set to visit noted elbow surgeon David Altcheck on Monday, per MLB.com’s Ian Brown (via Twitter).
- Lest there be any confusion, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he’s entertaining no thoughts of staying around past the present season, in spite of recent comments that seemed to leave the door cracked a bit. “Listen, the thing is that people need to understand, in my mind I’m 100 percent sure I’m going to retire,” he said. “There are so many reasons for me that I want to retire. That is what is my mind right now. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea.”