Here’s the latest out of the National League West:
- The Padres are “open-minded” to quite a bit of experimentation in the way they deploy their roster in 2017, as manager Andy Green explains and Bryce Miller of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Beyond the quirk of carrying Christian Bethancourt as a catcher, outfielder, and relief pitcher, San Diego will look for other ways of taking advantage of creativity. “I think a lot of teams come in with more established options at different spots,” Green explains. “We’re going to be open-minded to see who rises up and wins the respective jobs and be opportunistic to put guys in positions to succeed that might run different than what other clubs would do.” Just how far the Pads go in tweaking baseball convention remains to be seen; while it won’t likely make much of a difference in their postseason outlook, some new approaches could conceivably pave the way for future change in San Diego as well as other organizations.
- The Dodgers are seeing signs of life from lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt telling reporters — including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register (links to Twitter) — that the Korean hurler is ready to throw in a game situation. It’s unclear whether that’ll be a sim game or a Cactus League contest, but it seems the former is more likely. “No negatives to me,” Honeycutt said of Ryu’s showing thus far. “It’s been impressive.” The 29-year-old is looking to return to the excellent form he showed during his first two years with the Dodgers. He has missed all of the past two seasons (except for one ill-fated outing last year) due to persistent shoulder problems.
- While many have panned the Rockies’ large expenditure on Ian Desmond, in large part due to the fact that he’s slated to shift from being an up-the-middle defender to a first baseman, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports identifies some reasons to support the move. Manager Bud Black says the team was focused less on position than it was the desire to “go get a baseball player who is good.” While Desmond was targeted as a first baseman from the get-go, per the report, GM Jeff Bridich notes that “there is absolutely the potential” he’ll change positions in the future. And Desmond himself is embracing the challenge of yet another new position much as he did his move to the outfield last year, saying he likes the Rockies’ “creativity to use my athleticism.” Of course, those statements don’t necessarily counteract the core criticisms of the deal, though they do suggest that the team is looking to be creative and flexible in building out a roster — now and in the future.