White Sox GM Rick Hahn shot down the idea that top prospect Yoan Moncada will push his way onto the MLB roster early this year, as Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago reports. All signs are pointing up for Moncada, who has tamped down on the strikeouts while showing signs of polishing up his defensive game. But that doesn’t mean the club is prepared to make an aggressive promotion. “He’s shown a fair amount of progress in each of those areas that we’ve asked of him,” said GM Rick Hahn. “That said, we want to see that over an extended period of time. It’s awfully important to not lose sight of the fact this is a 21-year-old player, one who was not playing two years ago as of right now. It’s a guy who has fewer than 325 or so plate appearances above A-ball.” Given that, says Hahn, the club won’t “rush” Moncada’s ascension.
Here’s more from the game’s central divisions:
- The Tigers have moved Francisco Rodriguez out of the closer role, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today first reported on Twitter. He’ll be replaced, at least for the time being, by Justin Wilson. While it seems that Rodriguez could yet regain his spot in the ninth, he’ll now need to show he’s a better option than Wilson, who has been lights out thus far. Rodriguez, meanwhile, has been generating plenty of strikeouts but has also allowed 11 earned runs on 19 hits in his 11 2/3 innings.
- Though the Reds optioned lefty Amir Garrett recently, president of baseball operations Dick Williams says he expects to bring the youngster back soon (in an interview with MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM; audio link). Garrett, who just turned 25, has been rather solid in his six starts, providing 36 innings of 4.25 ERA ball. But the plan heading into the season was never to ride any of the team’s young arms too hard. “We’ve got a lot of young guys that we’re excited to see this year on the roster,” Williams explains. “And the idea was, ’We’re going to get you up, we’re going to get you opportunities. All of you are going to see opportunities in the big leagues, and all of you are going to be back in Triple-A at some point, just for sheer numbers and innings management.'” In Garrett’s case, some upcoming off-days presented an opportunity to slow his accumulation of innings; he has never previously gone past 144 2/3 frames. “Most importantly, it gives Amir the ability to be on pace to pitch into September, which is what we want these guys to learn how to do,” said Williams.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Brewers prospect Nathan Kirby, who missed the 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery, had another elbow operation and will miss the next eight to 12 weeks (all links to Twitter). An ulnar nerve transposition was performed after Kirby was diagnosed with ulnar neuritis. That’s obviously a disheartening blow to both Kirby and the organization, as the Brewers selected Kirby with one of their top picks back in 2015. Kirby had been touted as a potential top five pick back in 2015 but slid to the supplemental round due to injury concerns that, clearly, have manifested in his pro career.
- Cardinals righty Lance Lynn tells Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link) that he has not engaged in any long-term talks with the club. The pending free agent says he would “love to stay” in St. Louis, but it also doesn’t sound as if the organization should expect any discount. Lynn, who’ll soon turn 30, has returned from Tommy John surgery on a hot streak. Over 35 1/3 frames this year, he owns a shiny 2.04 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. If he can keep up anything approaching that work, and maintain his health, Lynn ought to make for quite an appealing free agent at season’s end.