Angels right-hander Ricky Nolasco hasn’t eclipsed the 200-inning plateau since 2011, but he’s motivated to log at least 202 1/3 frames this year, writes Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times. That would give Nolasco 400 innings from 2016-17, meaning his $13MM club option for 2018 would vest; otherwise he could end up with a $1MM buyout next offseason. “It’s a big deal to me,” Nolasco told Moura. “I know what’s at stake — something that, obviously, I want to get to, no matter what happens. When I first signed that contract with the Twins, I thought, ‘Well, as long as I stay healthy, this is a five-year deal.’ It’s kind of been on my mind since day one.” Nolasco came close to 200 innings last year, when he combined for 197 2/3 with the Twins and Angels, and Halos general manager Billy Eppler is rooting for him to surpass the mark this season. “I hope Ricky takes the ball every fifth day and does his thing and goes deep in games and wins a lot of ballgames,” said Eppler. Manager Mike Scioscia, meanwhile, stated that he doesn’t “even want to hear about” Nolasco’s contract, adding that “he’s gonna pitch, and hopefully pitch well.”
More from the West Coast:
- Another Angels starter, left-hander Andrew Heaney, is recovering well from his Tommy John procedure last July and holding out hope for a return this season, per Moura. Scioscia isn’t optimistic, however. “From the information I have available right now, there is nothing that would make him available to pitch this year,” he said. “I just don’t see it happening.” Heaney took the mound only once last season, in a six-inning start on April 5, and attempted stem-cell therapy treatment on his elbow before opting for surgery. That worked for teammate Garrett Richards, but not Heaney.
- Before the Dodgers traded southpaw Vidal Nuno to the Orioles on Sunday, they offered him back to the Mariners, who declined thanks to a lack of roster space, reports Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Nuno spent most of the past two seasons in Seattle, which sent him to Los Angeles for catcher Carlos Ruiz in November.
- The Diamondbacks are “looking into building the industry’s most intelligent catchers,” including focusing on pitch framing, catching coach Robby Hammock told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. “The catching staff tries to throw out attempted base-stealers 80-120 times a year as opposed to receiving 20,000 to 25,000 pitches a year,” Hammock said. “What do you want to emphasize?” Hammock’s views explain the Diamondbacks’ offseason decision to jettison Welington Castillo, a poor framer, in favor of the defensively adept Jeff Mathis. Fellow free agent addition Chris Iannetta, on the other hand, hasn’t fared too well as a framer (via Baseball Prospectus), though the D-backs are optimistic they can help fix his issues. “It’s a skill,” analytics head Mike Fitzgerald observed. “So if it’s a skill, you can improve at it or decline at it. There’s a decent amount of empirical evidence that guys can improve on this.”