The Cardinals announced that right-hander Luke Weaver was removed from today’s Grapefruit League contest due to back spasms (Twitter link). Weaver faced two hitters in the eighth inning of today’s game and retired both before his back acted up. As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch writes, manager Mike Matheny said he’s unaware of any previous back problems for Weaver, and the team will re-evaluate the top prospect tomorrow. Weaver is battling fellow righties Michael Wacha and Trevor Rosenthal for the final spot in the St. Louis rotation and is by far the least experienced of the group. So while there’s no indication that the injury is especially serious, any time lost this spring could have an adverse impact on Weaver’s chances of laying claim to that vacant starting job.
A few more notes from around the Senior Circuit as the evening winds down…
- Right-hander Fernando Salas has a visa issue that is preventing him from pitching in spring games for the Mets, reports Newsday’s Marc Carig. Salas has already secured the necessary paperwork to pitch for Team Mexico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, so that tournament could give him some needed in-game reps as he prepares for the season. Carig adds in a followup tweet that the Mets expect Salas’ current documentation issue to be resolved sometime next week, so he should be able to pitch with the team upon completion of the WBC, barring any further paperwork complications. Salas, 33, inked a one-year, $3MM deal to return to the Mets in early February on the heels of an excellent showing with the team following last year’s August trade. The veteran setup man tossed 17 1/3 innings with the Mets, yielding just four runs on 11 hits and no walks with 19 strikeouts.
- The Reds considered Scott Schebler as more of a left fielder than a right fielder when he was acquired in the 2015 trade that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox, writes MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, but the 26-year-old has spent a great amount of time working to improve his throwing. As such, the team now views Schebler as a viable option in right field, and he’s in line to get a chance to cement himself as the team’s primary option there in 2017. “It’s one of the things I worked on for quite some time, and it’s getting there,” Schebler told Sheldon. “I would never say I have a cannon. I may never have one, but you work toward that and maybe you end up somewhere in the middle.” Manager Bryan Price said the team has emphasized to Schebler that its preference would be less air underneath his throws, even if it means one-hopping the catcher on throws to the plate. Price praised Schebler for improvements to his arm strength and accuracy — both of which he attributes to mechanical alterations.
- Greg Holland won’t make his Cactus League debut for the Rockies until next week, at the earliest, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. The 31-year-old threw a 23-pitch simulated game on Tuesday of this week and will throw at least two more sim games before he’s cleared to get into an actual game with his new team, per Saunders. To this point, Holland hasn’t come out and thrown his fastball at 100 percent, though the former Royals closer said he’s building toward that point. Holland is clearly itching to get into a game, calling it “demoralizing” for any competitor to sit out as games are underway. “But you have to understand that there is a right way and there is a science behind this,” Holland told Saunders. “You have to stay patient with it, as hard as it is.” Holland inked a one-year, $7MM deal with the Rox this winter, and his contract also contains a vesting player option that’ll trigger at $15MM if he finishes 30 games or appears in 50 total contests.