Hopes are riding high for the Indians, but the health of Michael Brantley remains a major wild card for the organization. Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports on where things stand as camp opens. As was the case last year, Cleveland intends to proceed cautiously as Brantley ramps up from shoulder surgery. This time, though, there’ll be even more caution given the setbacks he experienced in 2016. Swinging the bat in game conditions seems to have caused Brantley’s problems last time around, Hoynes explains, so the team is taking the long view in helping the injured star to find a way to compete without aggravating his damaged joint.
Here’s more from the American League:
- The Rangers watched veteran righty Edwin Jackson throw yesterday but decided against offering him a contract, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports on Twitter. Jackson, 33, struggled in stints last year with the Marlins and Padres, working to a cumulative 5.89 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 over 84 innings. He exhibited a notable velocity drop, delivering a career-low 91.7 mph average fastball, though he did still manage a 9.4% swinging-strike rate that landed in range of his career norms.
- The Blue Jays also showed some interest, per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter), but appear to have moved on after adding Mat Latos. As Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi further reports, Latos says he’s “willing to do whatever I need to do,” expressing a willingness to work from the rotation, out of the pen, or even at Triple-A. “I’ve got a lot of earning I need to do,” he said, “and I need to earn everything as it comes.” GM Ross Atkins, meanwhile, says he’s “excited” to bring Latos into camp, noting that the organization is hopeful he’ll earn a MLB job and wasn’t motivated to try to stash him in the minors.
- Indeed, the Blue Jays now seem largely set with their roster more generally, as Atkins further told Davidi. Per the general manager, the organization is still looking into trade opportunities, but sees additional signings as “unlikely.” Toronto also doesn’t appear inclined to further bolster its rotation mix, with Atkins calling it “a tough sell” to add a starter given the team’s existing stock.