Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rays right-hander Brad Boxberger has actually been dealing with a flexor strain — not the lat strain that sidelined him in Spring Training. Boxberger tells Topkin that he felt “a little off” when throwing in a March 22 live batting practice session that was intended to gauge his recovery from the lat strain. Boxberger went two weeks without throwing and but has been cleared to begin a throwing program. The Rays are hopeful that he’ll be able to return sometime in the month of May, though Boxberger says there’s no hard timetable on his recovery. Boxberger, the former Rays closer, opened the 2016 season on the shelf coming off hernia surgery and quickly suffered an oblique injury upon returning from the disabled list last May. Those injuries combined to limit him to just 24 1/3 innings last year, and while he was on the shelf, Alex Colome broke out and laid claim to the closer’s role in St. Petersburg.
More from the AL East…
- Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman both tell George A. King III of the New York Post that there’s been no discussion about Masahiro Tanaka’s potential opt-out at season’s end, despite other reports suggesting the team is frustrated with his camp over the matter. “There is nothing to hold over our heads because we haven’t negotiated it,” says Cashman regarding the potential opt out at season’s end. “I have the utmost respect for [Tanaka’s agent] Casey Close and his office. I don’t know where this came from. We haven’t had any discussions of an opt-out.” Steinbrenner offers a similar sentiment to King, telling him that the team’s focus is squarely on the 2017 season. “Secondly, anyone that knows me knows that I don’t get emotional or personal about business,” says Steinbrenner. “Any decision then will be made on a solid analysis of all the relevant data, per usual.”
- The Orioles released minor league outfielder-turned-pitcher Dariel Alvarez yesterday after it was learned that he’d require surgery (likely Tommy John), thus opening a spot on the 40-man roster for newly acquired left-hander Andrew Faulkner. However, Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are hopeful of re-signing Alvarez to a minor league contract and keeping him in the organization to rehab. That would allow the O’s to further pursue the pitching experiment with Alvarez — a transition that had only just begun when he incurred his elbow injury.
- Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins tells Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi that the team is pleasantly surprised with the depth that has been stockpiled at Triple-A Buffalo. Getting Mike Bolsinger through waivers yesterday allows the Jays to pair him with Mat Latos in the Triple-A rotation, and Atkins sounded particularly pleased with the fact that they were able to win a claim on catcher Luke Maile. Atkins tells Davidi that the team didn’t expect to be able to stockpile this kind of depth after already adding Juan Graterol (also via waivers) and Mike Ohlman (minor league deal). “But the opportunity to add a piece that we feel is an already now major-league defender was something we didn’t want to pass on,” says Atkins of Maile.