A few notes from the American League West:
- With the unreliable Tony Sipp representing their only established left-handed reliever, there’s an argument that the Astros could stand to add another southpaw to their bullpen. But, as he looks to improve the reigning champions’ relief corps, general manager Jeff Luhnow isn’t discriminating based on handedness (Twitter links via Brian McTaggart of MLB.com). “It’s really about finding the best upgrades to our pitching staff we can find to give us depth and quality we need to get through long season,” said Luhnow, whose team’s righty-heavy bullpen actually held its own against lefty-swingers in 2017. Luhnow noted, though, that the market is currently “stalled,” which suggests nothing is imminent on Houston’s end.
- Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto told KJR-AM this week that right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma won’t be ready to pitch again until late May or early June, per Greg Johns of MLB.com (Twitter link). Iwakuma, who re-signed with the Mariners on a minor league contract on Wednesday, threw just 31 innings in 2017 as he dealt with shoulder problems. The 36-year-old underwent surgery in late September.
- Angels left-handed pitching prospect Nate Smith will miss the 2018 season after undergoing anterior capsule surgery in September, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. The 26-year-old Smith is now facing a 12- to 14-month recovery period, which is particularly unfortunate for a pitcher whom injuries limited to a mere 15 innings in 2017. For now, MLB.com ranks Smith as the Angels’ ninth-best prospect.