Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco underwent an MRI to check out some swelling in his right elbow, but the test revealed no structural damage, per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (Twitter links). Nonetheless, manager Terry Francona informed reporters that Carrasco will have at least his next spring start pushed back. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway noted that Carrasco’s fastball was “really flat” in his most recent outing on Monday, Bastian adds, though it doesn’t seem as if there’s any major injury serving as a deterrent to the right-hander. Carrasco missed some time due to injuries last season, though nothing pertaining to his elbow. Rather, the 29-year-old was plagued by a broken hand and a strained hamstring. He hasn’t been on the DL due to an elbow injury since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011. Last year, Carrasco logged a 3.32 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 48.5 percent ground-ball rate in 146 1/3 innings.
Elsewhere in the American League Central…
- Salvador Perez underwent a second MRI to confirm that there’s no serious damage to his knee following a home-plate collision with Royals teammate Drew Butera in the World Baseball Classic, tweets MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan, though manager Ned Yost said he won’t have further updates until tomorrow morning. Flanagan notes that Yost didn’t seem especially concerned with his catcher’s health. Perez was diagnosed with inflammation following the initial MRI.
- Searching for answers to his recent decline, Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez tried out some new mechanical tweaks in a bullpen session with manager Brad Ausmus (a former big league catcher), writes Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. Sanchez, Ausmus and pitching coach Rich Dubee were trying out a new arm slot in an effort to bolster the 33-year-old’s velocity after a dip in recent seasons. As Fenech notes, Sanchez’s spring has been nightmarish to date, and he’s done nothing to offer optimism of a turnaround following last year’s disastrous 5.87 ERA in 153 1/3 innings. Fenech writes that if Sanchez’s struggles are significant enough, the team could potentially opt to simply eat the remaining $21MM on his contract ($16MM 2017 salary plus a $5MM buyout on his 2018 option) and release him. Certainly, that’s not a desirable result, though the Tigers have numerous younger options in the rotation, as can be seen on their depth chart at Roster Resource.
- Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron writes that Twins third baseman Miguel Sano is an interesting case study in the small samples of Statcast defensive data that are being made public this season. Though he’s quick to note that the sample he’s observing is beyond minuscule — three total plays in right field — Cameron writes that Sano made two of the three potential “five star” catches with which he was faced (those deemed by Statcast to have a catch probability under 25 percent based on hang time and distance traveled). In looking at the specific plays in question, Cameron notes that neither required an enormous amount of range, but each required an incredibly quick reaction time and excellent footwork — two traits that also are vital at third base. Statcast data is in its nascent stage, but Cameron wonders if that type of insight could be one of the advantages to Statcast data over other defensive metrics like Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating. While there’s no definitive way of knowing just how to interpret this data yet, Cameron’s examination is an interesting look at the potential new applications of Statcast data that will only become increasingly more popular in years to come.