The Athletics optioned highly touted shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto to Triple-A on Friday, though it seems he could enter the picture in Oakland sometime this year. “I think we’d all like to see him up here at some point and that’s our anticipation,” executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane said of Barreto, who slashed .481/.500/.667 in 27 spring at-bats (Twitter link via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). Because Marcus Semien occupies short for the A’s, Barreto’s major league debut is likely to come at second base, per Beane, who noted Friday that the keystone is “probably his quickest path to the big leagues” (via Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area). The 21-year-old Barreto, whom Oakland acquired from Toronto in 2014 in the A’s ill-fated Josh Donaldson trade, tops out as Baseball America’s 40th-ranked prospect.
More from the American League:
- Beane also revealed Friday that the Athletics aren’t going to react to right-hander Sonny Gray’s lat strain by attempting to acquire pitching. Rather, Beane’s confident in the depth the A’s have on hand. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a fertile market to be diving into right now anyway this time of year,” he said. “I think we prefer to stay in-house and give maybe somebody an opportunity.” Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea and Jharel Cotton are set to comprise the A’s top three starters in a temporarily Gray-less rotation, leaving the final spots to two of Jesse Hahn, Andrew Triggs or Raul Alcantara, writes Stiglich. One hurler who won’t factor into the rotation is righty Frankie Montas, who will work as a reliever this year, according to Beane. However, the A’s still see him as a long-term starter (Twitter link via Slusser).
- Although Red Sox first baseman/designated hitter Hanley Ramirez hasn’t been able to play the field this spring because of a shoulder issue, manager John Farrell doesn’t regard it as a serious injury, relays Rob Bradford of WEEI. “We feel like there’s been a little bit of a breakthrough here,” Farrell said Saturday. “We’re anticipating that throwing to continue to progress and ramp up. The goal, obviously, is still to get him games at first base while in camp, and we’re moving towards that.” Ramirez hasn’t been able to throw, but Farrell pointed out that “he still continues to drill work and ground balls at first base.”
- The Rangers won’t need a fifth starter until April 15, meaning they could opt for a four-man rotation until Andrew Cashner returns, per skipper Jeff Banister (via Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News). Cashner has made encouraging progress since he suffered a setback in his recovery from biceps tendinitis on March 9.
- One of Cashner’s teammates and fellow starters, Chi Chi Gonzalez, was diagnosed with a partial UCL tear on Friday. That left Gonzalez “stunned,” writes Grant, who adds that the 25-year-old is likely to get a second opinion. “I had some soreness, but thought it was the usual spring training stuff,” Gonzalez told Grant. “I thought it was something minor. And it’s something people often can’t even throw with and here I was pitching. It’s disappointing.”